Category: Schizophrenia / Psychotic Disorders


Understanding the Role of Culture in Accessing Treatment for First-Episode Psychosis

Friday, November 17
10:15 AM - 11:45 AM
Location: Sapphire Ballroom O & P, Level 4, Sapphire Level

Keywords: Psychosis / Psychotic Disorders | Race / Ethnicity | Treatment Development
Presentation Type: Symposium

The onset of schizophrenia can be very challenging for individuals and the heterogeneity of the illness can present complex treatment challenges for providers. Persons who are experiencing early psychosis have not fully benefited from traditional treatment approaches in usual settings, which has led to high rates of non-adherence, disengaging from treatment, and increased rates of relapse (Mueser et al., 2015; Kane et al., 2016). Some common problems that often arise in the implementation of a new evidence-based practice include: adapting materials for practitioners with varying levels of experience , educating community stakeholders about the new treatment practice to establish referral networks, and responding to culturally and regionally specific needs in outreach and treatment. The purpose of this study was to conduct focus groups with different stakeholders including providers, family members, and persons with lived experience to understand cultural barriers to accessibility of services during a first episode of psychosis (FEP).  An additional aim of the study was to develop recommendations to assist teams with outreach and engagment, and incorportate specific cultural and regional needs into training and outreach. We conducted six focus groups to discuss various community and/or cultural needs as they relate the implementation of FEP programs. The focus groups provided a platform for frequently marginalized populations to discuss their thoughts and experiences as they relate to psychosis and recovery. Cultural groups such as Native Americans, African Americans, Southeast Asian, African-American, and members of the LGBTQ community were included in the focus groups. We will discuss the common challenges that culturally diverse groups face when connecting to mental health services for the first time and identify engagement strategies suggested across the different cultural groups. 

Piper S. Meyer-Kalos

Executive Director, Minnesota Center for Chemical and Mental Health
University of Minnesota


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