Early Warning Clinics
If you are at high risk or if you see symptoms that might be related to schizophrenia or other mental illness in someone you know, you have several options for seeking help. You can contact a local psychiatrist experienced in treating schizophrenia or a nearby psychiatric treatment facility. Hospitals associated with research universities often offer state-of-the-art care.
Another option is an early diagnostic clinic. These facilities can be found all over the United States and Canada. You can find them listed under “Mental Health Services” in the Yellow Pages of the phone book, searching online, or starting with this list of early treatment clinics.
Consider calling a clinic close to you. A trained staff member will tell you about the programs they offer and arrange an appointment, if appropriate, for you to visit for an interview and an evaluation.
Who can benefit from early treatment clinics?
Usually someone who has had one or a few psychotic episodes or who has been receiving treatment for less than six months to a year is considered to have an early psychotic disorder. Some clinics also evaluate and treat young people at high risk of developing psychotic symptoms.
Most of these clinics are interested in treating people around the teenage years, but the range varies widely. They tend to accept residents of the counties or provinces in which they are located. Most conduct research studies that involve their patients. The treatment and services they provide are extensive and often include family therapy.
Some clinics provide services on a sliding fee scale, making them affordable to many people regardless of their level of income. A few of them charge nothing except the cost of any medications. Call, write, or e-mail to determine if you are eligible and to learn details about a clinic that interests you.
If you cannot find a clinic near you, call local hospitals and mental health care providers to find out what programs are available in your area. Make use of all possible resources to find the facility and treatment that are best for you. You might be able to find a local therapist or doctor who is willing to work with you to try to prevent further development or progression of the disease.