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. Jan-Mar 2018;29(1):58-63.
doi: 10.22365/jpsych.2018.291.58.

Early Intervention Services in Greece: Time to Focus on People at High Risk

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Early Intervention Services in Greece: Time to Focus on People at High Risk

S I Bargiota et al. Psychiatriki. .
Free article

Abstract

Over the last twenty years, a lot of early intervention services operate worldwide with the aim of offering assistance and promoting the early diagnosis and management, not only of people who experience a first episode of psychosis but also of individuals that are at high risk of developing psychosis. The early intervention services that operate in other countries have been reviewed in correlation with the current status of early intervention services for psychosis in Greece. Early intervention services were first established in Australia, and now hundreds of similar programs exist in Europe, North America and Asia. Furthermore, early intervention services incorporate teams that engage people who have an at risk mental state (ARMS), and are at high risk of developing psychosis. The first clinical service for individuals at high risk for psychosis was established in Melbourne in 1995, and an increasing number of similar services have since emerged worldwide. One of the largest of these is OASIS (Outreach and Support in South London). The first early intervention service was developed during the December 2007, in a rural catchment region of north-western Greece, in Ioannina. After the establishment of Ioannina Early Intervention Service, there was a growing interest of the Greek psychiatric community in the issues of early detection and prevention of psychotic disorders which led to the development of early psychosis units in other regions of Greece, like Athens, Thessaloniki and Patras. However, this field remains neglected in Greece, since in the absence of funding for such early detection services, there are only a few programs that operate mainly on a voluntary basis. Moreover, specialized mental health services for people at high risk for psychosis that have significant clinical benefits and are also cost effective, do not exist in the majority of Greek services. Greece and other countries in a similar condition need to understand the significance of untreated or poorly treated psychotic disorders that affect a lot of young people in late adolescence and early adult life. Focusing on people at high risk of developing psychosis will promote public health and will help not only to prevent the onset of psychotic disorders but to enhance their prognosis as well.

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