Digital Trajectories to Care in First-Episode Psychosis

Psychiatr Serv. 2018 Dec 1;69(12):1259-1263. doi: 10.1176/ Epub 2018 Sep 26.


Objective: The emphasis on reducing the duration of untreated psychosis (DUP) has highlighted complex barriers to accessing appropriate services. Internet and social media use by individuals with first-episode psychosis (FEP) was examined to explore how these platforms might be used to facilitate treatment initiation.

Methods: Participants ages 15-35 were interviewed with the Pathways to Care for Psychosis Questionnaire, an 81-item instrument designed to explore online activity during symptom emergence.

Results: Of 112 participants, 90% used the Internet and social media daily. The Internet was listed as the most used resource (62%) for information while symptoms were emerging. A minority (19%) shared concerns via social media, and 76% responded favorably to the possibility of receiving online mental health support.

Conclusions: The Internet and social media were part of daily life for participants with FEP. Activity continued throughout the DUP, offering the prospect of earlier intervention. Participants expressed positive attitudes toward Internet-based outreach and engagement efforts.

Keywords: Duration of Untreated Psychosis; First-Episode Psychosis; Internet; Pathways to Care; Social Media.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychotic Disorders*
  • Social Media / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult