Worldwide implementation of clinical services for the prevention of psychosis: The IEPA early intervention in mental health survey

Early Interv Psychiatry. 2020 Dec;14(6):741-750. doi: 10.1111/eip.12950. Epub 2020 Feb 17.


Background: Clinical research into the Clinical High Risk state for Psychosis (CHR-P) has allowed primary indicated prevention in psychiatry to improve outcomes of psychotic disorders. The strategic component of this approach is the implementation of clinical services to detect and take care of CHR-P individuals, which are recommended by several guidelines. The actual level of implementation of CHR-P services worldwide is not completely clear.

Aim: To assess the global geographical distribution, core characteristics relating to the level of implementation of CHR-P services; to overview of the main barriers that limit their implementation at scale.

Methods: CHR-P services worldwide were invited to complete an online survey. The survey addressed the geographical distribution, general implementation characteristics and implementation barriers.

Results: The survey was completed by 47 CHR-P services offering care to 22 248 CHR-P individuals: Western Europe (51.1%), North America (17.0%), East Asia (17.0%), Australia (6.4%), South America (6.4%) and Africa (2.1%). Their implementation characteristics included heterogeneous clinical settings, assessment instruments and length of care offered. Most CHR-P patients were recruited through mental or physical health services. Preventive interventions included clinical monitoring and crisis management (80.1%), supportive therapy (70.2%) or structured psychotherapy (61.7%), in combination with pharmacological treatment (in 74.5%). Core implementation barriers were staffing and financial constraints, and the recruitment of CHR-P individuals. The dynamic map of CHR-P services has been implemented on the IEPA website:

Conclusions: Worldwide primary indicated prevention of psychosis in CHR-P individuals is possible, but the implementation of CHR-P services is heterogeneous and constrained by pragmatic challenges.

Keywords: clinical high risk; early intervention; implementation; psychosis; schizophrenia.

MeSH terms

  • Africa
  • Australia
  • Early Intervention, Educational*
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • North America
  • Psychotherapy
  • Psychotic Disorders / psychology*
  • Schizophrenia
  • South America
  • Surveys and Questionnaires