Early Intervention: Key to Effective Mental Health Treatment

Earlier this year the director of the Department of Mental Health (DMH), Keith Schafer, met with the MCC’s Public Policy Committee and discussed what happens to young adults when mental illnesses is left untreated.

Schafer said that these young people move from crisis to crisis, appearing in hospital emergency rooms. They are involuntarily committed by courts to short-term, episodic in-patient treatment, but then tend to resist follow-up outpatient help. The parents or spouses become desperate and don’t know where to turn for help.

Many fall slowly into poverty and abusive relationships; some eventually turn to the services provided by DMH. Schafer said the key to reversing this tragic pattern is early intervention. The longer treatment is delayed the more difficult it is to alleviate an illness like bipolar disorder or Schizophrenia.



Posted: August 9, 2013

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