An Influence of Early Intervention Services on Adolescents and Young Adults with Mental Health Issues

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In the article, “Early Intervention in Mental Health for Adolescents and Young Adults: A Systematic Review”, by researchers Halley Read, Sean Roush, and Donna Downing, they discuss how effective early intervention services are for people ages 12 to 35 years old that are at risk for or have already been diagnosed with serious mental illnesses. The researchers reviewed many articles and citations to answer their question of “What is the evidence for the effectiveness of early intervention to improve and maintain performance in occupations for people with serious mental illness?” (2018, p. 1).

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From their research, they found that “specific interventions with clients in the earliest stages of SMI can offset cognitive impairments and improve functioning and social relationships” (2018, p. 6). The interventions that were addressed were: cognitive remediation, cognitive-behavioral therapy, supported employment and supported education, and family psychoeducation. They rated the strength of the evidence they found based on the US Preventive Services Task Force’s guidelines, which was a scale that included: strong evidence, moderate evidence, mixed evidence, and insufficient evidence. The found moderate evidence for the effectiveness of cognitive remediation.

The literature they reviewed showed that cognition and overall functioning improved, but the effect could not be maintained after 3 months. With cognitive-behavioral therapy, they assessed studies that focused on those with clinical high risk for psychosis, first-episode psychosis, and depression. There were variations in the amount of functional improvement and the length of time the therapy was effective for and overall, more research was needed on the matter. There was strong evidence that showed that supported employment and education through the use of vocational support lead to more positive social interactions and better occupational outcomes in education and employment. I thought that this article was interesting, but it took a while to fully read and understand what was being said because there was so much usage of acronyms. I had to look up some of the more technical terms that popped up in the paper in order to understand some of what was written.

The implications section of the article was the most interesting to to me because I could see what areas needed more research in order to assess how to better implement a certain type of intervention and when that specific intervention would be most beneficial when applied to patients. I do wish that the article gave more details on what mental illnesses were addressed in the studies they looked at rather than just using the general description of psychosis. I selected this article because I am interested in mental health and psychology. I picked this hoping that I would understand parts of the article and be able to relate it to information learned from both this class and my psychology classes. I was also hoping that this article would help me better understand an occupational therapist’s role in helping those with mental illnesses because it was not something that I completely understood when going over it in class.

This article did actually help with my understanding of how occupational therapy can play a part in helping those with mental illnesses function. It also gave a lot of information on other research that has been done in regards to mental health using the four types of intervention methods mentioned previously and how effective each one was. It gives insight on how occupational therapists can use these methods in treating their patients. And although fairly brief, the article did mention how the research studies were conducted.

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