State health leaders expanding early psychosis treatment programs

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AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Texas will soon have 23 sites offering mental health services to young adults experiencing early-onset psychosis.

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s Coordinated Specialty Care Program is adding 13 new sites this year with help from a $4 million mental health block grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 

“It’s critical we reach people early in their diagnosis to create the best opportunity for recovery,” Sonja Gaines, HHSC deputy executive commissioner for Intellectual and Developmental Disability and Behavioral Health Services, said in a released statement. “Connecting people with the right treatment and support can be life changing and dramatically alter the trajectory of a person’s future.”

Coordinated specialty care helps people ages 15 to 30 years old who have been diagnosed with a psychotic disorder within the last two years. A team of specialists provides medication management, case management, employment and education support and additional health care. Since 2014, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s Coordinated Specialty Care Program has helped Texans graduate from high school and college, find stable housing, maintain employment and get on track with independent living. 

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, psychosis is used to describe conditions that affect the mind where there has been some loss of contact with reality. Key symptoms include hallucinations, delusions and confused thinking that leads to substantial life disruption.

The institute says three out of 100 people will experience psychosis at some time in their lives and about 100,000 adolescents and young adults in the United States experience early psychosis each year.

In Texas, local mental health and behavioral health authorities help provide services. According to the state, the 10 current sites served 520 people in the last fiscal year. 

The new sites that will be established in the summer of 2019 include:

  • Andrews Center Behavioral Healthcare, Tyler
  • Border Region Behavioral Health Center, Laredo
  • Central Counties Services, Temple
  • Coastal Plains Center, Portland
  • Community Healthcore, Longview
  • Denton County MHMR, Denton
  • LifePath Systems, Plano
  • Pecan Valley Centers, Granbury
  • Spindletop Center, Beaumont
  • Texana Center, Rosenberg
  • Texoma Community Center, Sherman
  • Tri County Behavioral Health, Conroe
  • West Texas Centers, Big Spring

State health officials say they expect the program will be able to serve up to 700 people on a monthly basis across the 23 sites.

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