Objectives: Australia is piloting a stand-alone early intervention programme for psychosis, based on the Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention Centre (EPPIC) model that was developed within mainstream Victorian State Government psychiatric services. The Australian early intervention programme is located in primary care, and badged as ‘headspace Early Psychosis Youth Services’. There are currently six metropolitan early intervention services with two further services planned for the 2023 Financial Year. We discuss key findings from an external evaluation of the first six services, released by the Australian Government Department of Health under a Freedom of Information request.
Conclusions: headspace Early Psychosis Youth Services received high ratings for patient satisfaction and engagement, which was associated with symptomatic improvement and functional recovery. However, governance was complicated, costs were relatively high, and caseload targets were not met. The cost for an additional year of good quality life was estimated at AUD 318,954, which exceeds the usual thresholds for defining a ‘good buy’. Integrated models should be investigated, as they seem in principle to offer efficiencies and improved continuity of care.
- early intervention
- first-episode psychosis
- youth mental health