Early intervention with difficult to engage, ‘high-risk’ youth: evaluating an intensive outreach approach in youth mental health
Article first published online: 28 JUL 2008
© 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2008 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd
Early Intervention in Psychiatry
Volume 2, Issue 3, pages 195–200, August 2008
How to Cite
Schley, C., Ryall, V., Crothers, L., Radovini, S., Fletcher, K., Marriage, K., Nudds, S., Groufsky, C. and Yuen, H. P. (2008), Early intervention with difficult to engage, ‘high-risk’ youth: evaluating an intensive outreach approach in youth mental health. Early Intervention in Psychiatry, 2: 195–200. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-7893.2008.00079.x
- Issue published online: 28 JUL 2008
- Article first published online: 28 JUL 2008
- Received 15 May 2008; accepted 22 May 2008
- assertive community treatment;
- assertive outreach;
- early intervention;
- intensive case management
Background: Although intensive outreach (IO) models such as assertive community treatment and intensive case management have a strong evidence base in adult psychiatry, their effectiveness in the early intervention sector is unknown.
Aim: To explore client characteristics and treatment effects in a group of difficult to engage, ‘high-risk’ young people, seen by the Intensive Mobile Youth Outreach Service (IMYOS, ORYGEN Youth Heath) in Western Metropolitan Melbourne.
Methods: The clinical files of 47 clients were audited, targeting demographic and treatment outcome data prior to and during IMYOS involvement.
Results: Clients typically presented with traumatic childhoods, disrupted education, repeated treatment dropout, poor mental health and ‘high-risk’ behaviours. Results showed a significant reduction in risk to self and others between referral and discharge, and significantly lower admissions rates and inpatient days compared with the 9 months prior to referral.
Conclusions: IO might be an effective early intervention strategy to minimize risk of harm and decrease hospitalization in young people. However, conclusions are provisional as there was no control group included in this study. Further study is required, perhaps with a waiting list control.