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.
- Early intervention,
- Duration of treatment
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/amreshsrivastava/100/