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Keywords:

  • early detection;
  • early intervention;
  • organizational aspects of early intervention services;
  • public mental health;
  • quality of training

Abstract

Aim

To assess: (i) trainees' educational needs on early intervention in psychiatry; (ii) their satisfaction and competence in early detection and management of patients with severe mental disorders; (iii) characteristics of training on prevention and on early intervention in psychiatry; and (iv) organizational and clinical differences of early intervention programmes and services in different countries.

Methods

Sixty early career psychiatrists, recruited from the early career psychiatrists' network of the World Psychiatric Association, were invited to participate in the survey. Respondents were asked to provide the collective input of their trainees' association rather than that of any individual officer or member. An online survey was conducted using an ad hoc questionnaire consisting of 18 items.

Results

Thirty-five countries sent back the questionnaire (58.3%). University training in early intervention for mental disorders was provided in 13 countries (38%); 54% of respondents were not satisfied with received training and about half of them did not feel enough confident to provide specialistic interventions to patients at the onset of the disorder. Services for early intervention existed in 22 countries (63%). The most frequently available were those for schizophrenia (75%). Informative campaigns on mental disorders were usually carried out in almost all surveyed countries (85%).

Conclusions

Although prevention and early intervention represent one of the current paradigms of psychiatric practice and research, efforts are still needed in order to improve training programmes at university sites.