Early intervention for psychosis in Hong Kong – the EASY programme


Prof. Eric Y. H. Chen, MD, Department of Psychiatry, The University of Hong Kong, Queen Mary Hospital, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong. Email: eyhchen@hku.hk


Aim: This article aims to describe the Hong Kong experience in developing and implementing an early psychosis programme.

Methods: In 2001, the Early Assessment Service for Young People with Psychosis programme was launched in Hong Kong, providing both educational and service components. Public education includes promotion of timely help-seeking, accessible channels to service and knowledge of psychosis. The 2-year phase-specific intervention includes intensive medical follow-up and individualized psychosocial intervention. The programme has adopted the case-management approach, in which case managers provide protocol-based psychosocial intervention. The programme collaborates with non-governmental organizations and community networks in the provision of rehabilitation service.

Results: An average of over 600 young patients enter the programme for intensive treatment each year. Based on preliminary data from a 3-year outcome study, patients in the programme have remarkable reductions in hospital stay accompanied by improvements in vocational functioning.

Conclusions: The results suggested that the programme improved patients' outcome. Additional costs such as extra medical staff and medications may be offset by the shortened hospital stay. Further directions in early intervention are also discussed.