A clinical staging model for early intervention youth mental health services

Psychiatr Serv. 2014 Jul;65(7):939-43. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201300221.


Transformational reforms in mental health services are providing more young Australians who experience mental health problems with access to high-quality care. However, the current diagnostic approach has low utility in the early stages of illness, causing uncertainty among clinicians in regard to matching clients' needs with safe and effective interventions. The authors propose a clinical staging model that has the potential to better match illness stage to intervention. The model allows clinicians to provide more personalized and responsive care, especially to young people with attenuated syndromes (subthreshold disorders) who have a clear need for mental health care but who may not otherwise receive it. This approach can also assist clinicians in considering the potential trajectory of illness. Recent research using this framework has demonstrated the model's prospective utility. The authors describe application of the model in an early intervention youth mental health service in Australia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Australia
  • Early Medical Intervention / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Mental Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Severity of Illness Index*