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A Clinical Staging Model for Early Intervention Youth Mental Health Services
Shane P. M. Cross, B.Psych., M.Psych.(Clin.); Daniel F. Hermens, Ph.D.; Elizabeth M. Scott, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.; Antonia Ottavio, Dip.Hth.Sc., B.Nursing; Patrick D. McGorry, M.D., Ph.D.; Ian B. Hickie, M.D.
Psychiatric Services 2014; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201300221
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Except for Prof. McGorry, the authors are with the Brain and Mind Research Institute, University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia (e-mail: shane.cross@sydney.edu.au). Prof. McGorry is with the Centre for Young People's Mental Health, Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.

Copyright © 2014 by the American Psychiatric Association

Abstract

Transformational reforms in mental health services are providing more young Australians who experience mental health problems with access to high-quality care. However, the current diagnostic approach has low utility in the early stages of illness, causing uncertainty among clinicians in regard to matching clients’ needs with safe and effective interventions. The authors propose a clinical staging model that has the potential to better match illness stage to intervention. The model allows clinicians to provide more personalized and responsive care, especially to young people with attenuated syndromes (subthreshold disorders) who have a clear need for mental health care but who may not otherwise receive it. This approach can also assist clinicians in considering the potential trajectory of illness. Recent research using this framework has demonstrated the model’s prospective utility. The authors describe application of the model in an early intervention youth mental health service in Australia.

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