The rise of early psychosis care in California: An overview of community and university-based services

Tara A. Niendam, Angela Sardo, Mark Savill, Pooja Patel, Guibo Xing, Rachel L. Loewy, Carolyn S. Dewa, Joy Melnikow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective: California's Mental Health Services Act Prevention and Early Intervention funds provide a unique opportunity for counties to initiate programs focused on early intervention in mental health, including early psychosis. To explain the configuration of early psychosis programs and plan for a statewide evaluation, this report provides an overview of California's early psychosis programming, including service composition, funding sources, inclusion criteria, and data collection practices. Methods: Following a comprehensive identification process, early psychosis program representatives were contacted to complete the California Early Psychosis Assessment Survey (CEPAS). Results: The response rate to the CEPAS was excellent (97%, 29 of 30 active programs across 24 of 58 counties). Most programs (N=27, 93%) serve individuals with first-episode psychosis between the ages of 12 and 25. Twenty-two programs (79%) provide more than half of the standard components of early psychosis care outlined in the First- Episode Psychosis Service Fidelity Scale. Sixty-four percent of programs collect client-level data at intake and follow up on five or more relevant outcome domains; however, these varied significantly across sites. Conclusions: Substantial variability in services, inclusion criteria, and data recorded was evident across programs. Prior to conducting any large-scale evaluation, these findings highlight the significant challenges in retrospectively evaluating program effectiveness, need to harmonize program data collection methods, and importance of assessing the impact of program variability on outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)480-487
Number of pages8
JournalPsychiatric Services
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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