What components of Coordinated Specialty Care (CSC) programs make this approach especially useful as a treatment for First Episode Psychosis (FEP)?

Coordinated Specialty Care (CSC) is an evidence-based model of early intervention that is especially suited for treatment of individuals during the first 2 to 3 years after psychosis onset. CSC is a recovery-oriented treatment program which promotes shared decision making and uses a team of specialists who work with the client to create a personal treatment plan. An assessment of the client’s initial level of clinical and functional status, as well as awareness of the self-identified goals and needs, are essential components of the process. The specialists provide services to clients with First Episode Psychosis (FEP) by offering case management, medication management, psychotherapy, supported employment and supported education, and family education and support. Treatment decisions are made depending on the individual’s needs and preferences. The client and the team work together to make treatment decisions, with input from family members whenever possible. Further, there is a recognition that the heterogeneous trajectories of early psychosis require different types of treatment approaches. Some individuals will need more intensive interventions and so a stepped approach to care can be used during the initial treatment phase and throughout. In CSC, the emphasis is on improved client engagement with the array of CSC treatment components that are offered and how optimization of these components can lead to improved outcomes.

There are many different programs that use the CSC approach. In the United States, examples of CSC programs include (but are not limited to) NAVIGATE, the Connection Program, OnTrackNY, the Specialized Treatment Early in Psychosis (STEP) program, and the Early Assessment and Support Alliance (EASA). There are also related programs for FEP such as RAISE. RAISE is the name of a research initiative developed and funded by NIMH to test CSC programs.

For additional information on CSC and First Episode Psychosis see these resources:

An Overview of Coordinated Specialty Care (CSC) for Persons with First Episode Psychosis (National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, 2015)

First Episode Psychosis Programs: A Guide to State Expansion (National Alliance on Mental Illness, 2017)

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