QPR for Psychosis
First Episode Psychosis (FEP) is associated with increased risk of suicidal behaviours in youth. Sponsored by the Washington State Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery, and led by child psychiatrist Dr. Jon McClellan, this 2-hour training program is designed to help people identify and intervene with youth who may be experiencing the onset of a serious and possibly life-threatening mental illness.
With a special focus on warning signs in psychosis, the course includes training in the QPR intervention (how to Question, Persuade, and Refer someone who may be at risk of suicide), which is designed to achieve four outcomes:
Early recognition of signs of distress, including suicide warning signs
Early intervention and referral
The course also training in a brief edition of the Counseling on Access to Lethal Means (CALM) best practice registered training program. Both program descriptions can be found at: http://www.sprc.org/bpr.
Of note, Dr. McClelland and colleagues published the Practice Parameter for the Assessment and Treatment of Children and Adolescents with Schizophrenia in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in September of 2013. This training program reports and embraces these findings and recommendations.
Early is always better than later.
Throughout medicine, the earlier a problem is recognized and effective treatment begun, the better the long term functioning and survival. Psychosis is treatable. Early effective treatment opens the path to recovery and wellbeing and, as a result, lessens the risk that the person will attempt suicide.
According the National Institutes of Health, an estimated 95% of those who die by suicide are suffering from an unknown, untreated, or under-treated serious mental illness. In addition to major depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, and substance use disorder, untreated psychotic illnesses contribute greatly to suicide risk.
The sooner someone experiencing a significant disorder in brain function can be recognized, the sooner treatment can be initiated and the better the outcome for everyone: patient, family, school, and our communities.