The New Academic Year 2020/21 will focus on how to treat psychosis in its early stages.

The Prefect announced that there are considerable challenges in the current state of affairs regarding psychosis; its recognition, prevention and treatment, especially amongst the younger population.

More psychopathology is being recognised earlier in the childhood. Recent research shows that adequate prevention in the early years of life can have a positive impact in the future.

Both pharmacological and psychological preventions are currently extremely limited. The research regarding these areas is gathering pace but service provision lags significantly.

Neurorehabilitation options within the current system of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services is extremely limited and, for some patients, nearly non-existent.

Vast misunderstanding of psychotic treatment options leads to huge uncertainty and lack of confidence in clinicians to refer suitable patients. Instead, they opt for behavioural diagnoses and conservative management only, which leads to suboptimal outcomes.

It is noted that each psychotic episode not only promotes another psychosis (i.a. via kindling effects) but also generates vast neurotoxicity to the brain.

There is, naturally, considerable stigma in the community about the word “schizophrenia” and thus “primary psychotic disorder” may be a better and phenomenologically clearer term. It is, however, imperative that clinicians diagnose early or very early signs of psychosis with confidence and refer susceptible patients to secondary and tertiary mental health services.

This will be further complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Solutions will need to take this into account.

To promote this further and to campaign for a better solution, the Society agrees that the year 2020/21 shall be devoted to psychosis prevention and prehabilitation.

There were no objections to this, and the motion was carried.

Read the full memorandum here.