Services on early recognition of psychoses and bipolar disorders in Germany

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In order to successfully implement early recognition and intervention services in psychiatry, it is crucial to improve the attention to and recognition of severe mental disorders and to establish low threshold services that are available at short notice for diagnostic and treatment procedures. For this inventory survey study, questionnaires regarding the presence and type of early recognition services for psychoses and bipolar disorders were sent separately to German psychiatric hospitals by mail in September and October 2012. Additionally, an internet search and telephone inquiries as well as an alignment of responses from the two surveys and with network lists from published and ongoing early recognition studies were performed. Response rates in the psychosis and bipolar disorder surveys were 21 % (51/246) and 36 % (91/255), respectively. Three quarters of participating institutions reported at least an interest in creating an early recognition service for psychoses and one half for bipolar disorders. Overall, 26 institutions were identified that already offer early recognition of psychoses and 18 of bipolar disorders. Of these 16 are low threshold early recognition centres with direct access at short notice for first-episode patients and person from at-risk groups and separate specific public relations work. Of these early recognition centres five have a separate and easy to find homepage available; in an additional 15 institutions the specific websites are part of the institutions homepage. Despite widespread interest and the increasingly recognized importance of early recognition and intervention services in psychiatry, there is currently no nationwide coverage with early recognition services for severe mental disorders in Germany. Public relations and information activities are not (yet) sufficiently provided to reach affected persons and their environment. Common standards are (still) missing and interdisciplinary models are sparse. To correct these shortcomings, amongst other factors, acquisition of sufficient funding for such services is required.

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School of Medicine

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Molecular Medicine