Now in its second year, Family & Children’s Services’ first episode psychosis specialty program NAVIGATE continues to develop and make strides in serving youth ages 16-30 with recent onsets of a schizophrenia spectrum disorder. May clients have seen the benefits of NAVIGATE’s multidisciplinary, coordinated specialty care model that includes individual resiliency training therapy, monthly visits with a psychiatrist for medication management, supported employment/education, case management, and family education therapy and support. Including families in the process helps to ensure that the client’s support system has the support and education needed to help the client live with this treatable set of psychotic illnesses.
SAMUEL FOUND HOPE
At 23-years-old, Samuel was experiencing “strange things.” For hours a day, the sky would change to night and he would see “shadow people” coming out of the trees. These hallucinations didn’t bother Samuel, but his boss, in the construction and remodeling industry, noticed him behaving oddly at work, wandering around and away from worksites. Samuel’s employer was worried not only for his safety. After Samuel explained his experiences, his employer had concerns about employing someone with a mental illness. While Samuel was confident in his ability to work, he took time off to get help from F&CS’s NAVIGATE program.
Today, Samuel regularly attends therapy. His parents attend the Family Education component of NAVIGATE and Samuel recently returned to work in part because of NAVIGATE’s support and help with communication with his boss and co-workers through the supported employment service. This open conversation lessened concerns and stigma about mental illness in the workplace. Of course, like all of us he has good days and bad days, but with support, Samuel is able to work effectively through the struggles of mental illness.
Samuel, along with many other clients in NAVIGATE, has experienced the benefit of team-based treatment of early psychosis. There is hope.
MORE ABOUT NAVIGATE
Psychosis is more common than you think with approximately 3 in 100 people affected between the ages 16-30.
NAVIGATE is a comprehensive program designed to provide early and effective treatment to individuals who have experienced a first episode of psychosis. Family & Children’s Services is one of 20 sites throughout the U.S. that provides this treatment model
The program is named “NAVIGATE” to convey the mission of helping individuals with a first episode of psychosis and their families to successfully find their way to psychological and functional well-being and to access the services they need in the mental health system.
F&CS’s NAVIGATE’s goal is to expand and be able to deliver this higher intensity service model to more young people with hopes they can find their own recovery. Those enrolled in the program will increase coping skills, manage and reduce stress, monitor symptoms, increase role functioning through supported employment and education, increase social and leisure function through social rehabilitation, learn resiliency and achieve goals with the assistance of family support.
Recently, F&CS’s NAVIGATE implemented a new supported evidence-based employment and education services called Individual Placement and Support (IPS). IPS helps clients when they are ready to look for work or school and rapidly starts that search process, regardless of their current mental status, substance use, or other factors that could be barriers to service access in traditional “zero tolerance” models.