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RCGP launches new guidance for diagnosing psychosis in young people

RCGP (The Royal College Of General Practitioners) : 02 November, 2007  (New Product)
The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and the Royal College of Psychiatrists have published guidance to help front line practitioners achieve earlier diagnosis of psychosis in young people.
The guidance, designed to support practitioners from primary care, relevant community agencies and specialist mental health services, was formulated following a report commissioned by the National Institute for Mental Health in England (NIMHE). The report highlighted a growing evidence base that early symptom recognition can reduce progression to psychosis, and in some cases prevent the onset of a disabling psychotic illness.

The likelihood of developing psychosis is three in 100, with 80 percent of cases starting between the ages of 16 to 30, and five per cent aged 15 or less. It is one of the most serious conditions that can affect a young person there is a ten per cent lifetime risk of suicide and 12 percent of those who suffer from it end up with no job. However, with early intervention, suicide risk is halved and over 50 percent will go on to find employment.

Containing advice for GPs and listing key symptoms, which may signal the onset of psychosis, the guidance aims to create a smoother pathway between primary care practitioners and mental health specialists to ensure early detection and provide vital support for young people with psychosis, and their families.

Dr Huw Lloyd, chair of the RCGP Mental Health Group, says: “This guidance sets out a different dynamic between generalists and specialists in which earlier GP recognition supports different access routes to a specialist assessment and treatment service in this case a youth-orientated specialist assessment and psychological treatment service.”

Dr Roger Banks, vice president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists with a remit for developing the College’s links with primary care, says: “This vital initiative, firmly and enthusiastically supported by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, is indicative of a developing and strongly collaborative approach and the erosion of artificial boundaries between primary and secondary, or more aptly, generalist and specialist mental health care.”

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