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Keywords:

  • community-engaged;
  • outreach strategies;
  • schizophrenia;
  • ultra-high risk

Abstract

Schizophrenia and psychoses are debilitating disorders often leading to serious functional impairments. Early detection efforts have shifted focus to the prodromal phase and the emphasis is now on individuals at risk of developing psychosis.

Aim

The Longitudinal Youth-At-Risk Study (LYRIKS) seeks to elucidate the biological markers of psychosis. This paper describes the application of a community-engaged framework to the outreach strategies of LYRIKS. It describes the outreach goals, strategies used and their impact, as well as the various challenges faced by the research team and community partners.

Methods

The target population was defined. Community organizations having close ties with the target population were identified and approached for collaboration. These included educational and healthcare institutions, and government and welfare organizations. Strategies were categorized as active or passive. Active strategies included clinical screening and recruitment, workshops, roadshows and student internships. Passive strategies included utilizing print and social media.

Results

Three thousand three hundred twenty-one youth were approached and 401 called the hotline to find out more about the study. Three thousand five hundred one were pre-screened; 864 were further screened using the Comprehensive Assessment of At Risk Mental State. One hundred seventy-eight and 346 were eventually recruited as subjects and controls, respectively.

Conclusions

Challenges encountered included differing priorities, maintaining collaborative relationships, stigmatization and inadequate understanding of the profile of at risk youth. Future community-engaged research should be conducted more comprehensively to generate maximum benefits.