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Reducing treatment delay for early intervention: evaluation of a community based crisis helpline
Annals of General Psychiatry (2012)
  • Amresh Srivastava, University of Western Ontario

Background A limited number of studies have assessed the pathways to care of patients experiencing psychosis for the first time. Helpline/clinic programs may offer patients who are still functional but have potential for crisis an alternative that is free from judgment. Methods In this study we report on patient calling a round-the-clock crisis helpline for suicide prevention supported by psychiatric facilities in Mumbai, India. Chi-square and test of mean differences were used to compare outcomes between first-episode patients and those with a previous history. Results Within five years, the helpline received 15,169 calls. Of those callers, 2341 (15.4%) experienced suicidal ideation. Two hundred and thirty four patients opting for counseling lasting 12 months agreed to a psychiatric assessment. Of those, 32 were fist time psychosis sufferers, whereas, 54 had previously been psychotic. Of all psychiatric assessments, the clinic received 94 patients with ‘first-episode psychosis’. We found that the duration of illness was significantly shorter (17 vs. 28 months) and suicide attempts were fewer (21 vs. 16) in first-time psychosis sufferers compared to those with a treatment history. Conclusions We conclude that some first-episode patients of schizophrenia and other disorders do access services by using helplines. We also argue that helplines may be somewhat immune to stigma, allowing patients a safe alternative when finding help.

  • Helpline,
  • Stigma,
  • Psychosis,
  • Early intervention,
  • Duration of treatment
Publication Date
Summer June 24, 2012
Citation Information
Amresh Srivastava. "Reducing treatment delay for early intervention: evaluation of a community based crisis helpline" Annals of General Psychiatry Vol. 11 Iss. 1 (2012)
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