Introduction: An effective means of reducing disability from psychotic disorders is the provision of early detection and intervention targeted at the prodromal phase. Research has led to the reliable identification of individuals at risk of developing a psychotic disorder (Yung et al, 1998) and assisted in the development of preventative interventions in clinical settings (French & Morrison, 2004). However while intervention programs have been trialled for early psychosis (EP), therehas been a lack of research directed towards EP service delivery for rural and remote communities (RARC). The Detection, Evaluation and Psychological Therapy for Health (DEPTH) project is a multisite RCT of cognitive behavioural therapy for youths at risk for psychosis and has been adapted for rural service delivery. DEPTH also incorporates motivational interviewing to address the high incidence of cannabis problems for at-risk youths. Objectives: The paper will present preliminary data for at-risk youths from an urban and a rural setting. It will describe essential differences for service delivery in rural areas and will detail the adaptations of the EDIE manual to address the comorbidity of cannabis problems. Method: Routine clinical data will provide demographic and clinical information on EP rural youths. The DEPTH multisite RCT for at risk youths will demonstrate (i) an early intervention model for RARC, and (ii) methodology for targeting cannabis problems for at risk youths. Results EP in RARC is characterised by a substantial proportion of aboriginal youths in some areas, high levels of drug/alcohol problems, vast distances to access services. Preliminary data from DEPTH will be presented. Discussion: The DEPTH project illustrates the adaptation of a manualised early intervention for youths at risk of developing psychosis to incorporate treatment for cannabis problems. The paper provides the opportunity to further explore the specific needs of rural youths in providing early intervention services.
Australasian Schizophrenia Conference 2006. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, Volume 40, Issue 8 Supplement 2 (Freemantle, W. A. 21-23 August, 2006) p. A111-A112