Early Intervention for Schizophrenia

Corner one of the Triangle of Mental Health is quicker, individualized treatment.

Tiffany Martinez–a participant in Maine’s PIER early intervention program–was able to stop taking medication down the road and got certified as a physician’s assistant.

More funding of First-Episode Psychosis (FEP) treatment is becoming available. I make the case for individualized treatment–not cookie-cutter or treatment du jour treatment. From firsthand experience, I’ve seen how once a person gets a diagnosis of schizophrenia, they’re stereotyped along with everyone else who has this illness.

We shouldn’t have to fight to get treatment as soon as we need it. We shouldn’t have to fight to be taken seriously in our goals–like in our goal of getting a job or living independently.

The diagnosis cannot be used as sloppy shorthand to connote a person’s capabilities in life or to negate who they are.

Oprah Winfrey talks about “Using your personality to do your soul’s work.” Our recovery is soul work. Providers must use the Asset Model in treating us–using our personality and gifts to develop a treatment plan that we have input in instead of unilaterally telling us what they think we have to do.

Quicker treatment must be individualized and it must be best-practices treatment like the UCLA Psych Rehab program that offers social skills training.

We also shouldn’t be left to decompensate because a provider won’t treat us right away, or turns us away from the hospital doors.

If I made my case any clearer it would be a mirror.

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Author: Chris Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Left of the Dial. She owns a resume writing and career help business. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health. As well as an author and activist, Bruni is an artist and a fitness buff.

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