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NAMI Minnesota
800 Transfer Road, #31
Saint Paul, MN 55114

phone: 651-645-2948
toll free: 1-888-NAMI-Helps
(1-888-626-4435)
fax: 651-645-7379

email: namihelps@namimn.org

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Multi-Cultural Feedback on Treating First Episode Psychosis

NAVIGATE, an evidence-based approach, is a comprehensive coordinated specialty care treatment model for First Episode Psychosis that was implemented in the Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode (RAISE) project.

The MN Dept. of Human Services contracted with the MN Center for Chemical and Mental Health (MNCAMH) to provide training, consultation and technical assistance in the implementation of the NAVIGATE model across three teams in Minnesota to implement or expand services for adolescents and young adults experiencing a first episode of psychosis.

NAMI Minnesota is working in partnership with MNCAMH to garner community engagement and to educate families on this project and has conducted six focus groups within the communities associated with the First Episode Psychosis NAVIGATE teams.

The multi-cultural focus groups were conducted with individuals who live with a mental illness, family members, and mental health professionals across the Twin Cities in an effort to learn how these programs can better address the needs of specific cultural and community groups during recovery following an episode of psychosis.

The Six Focus Groups were: African American individuals living with mental illnesses, American Indian providers, African providers, Hispanic/Latino individuals living with mental illnesses, providers and a family member; LGBTQ individuals living with mental illnesses, and Southeast Asian providers.

Cultivating Trust and Relationships with Providers: The most salient issue that emerged across all the focus groups was having a good relationship with providers, identified as affecting the following: fostering trust, receiving appropriate care, increased follow-through with care plans, increased medication adherence, and increased hope for recovery. Trust is an important component in determining issues such as: when and how care was accessed, level of disclosure to providers, perceived level of personal wellness one had the ability to achieve, the quality of provider recommendations, and the likelihood of their adherence to provider recommendations.

Barriers to Mental Health Care and Referrals: Barriers to receive effective mental health care included: unavailability of appointments when needed, lack of providers, lack of systems to respond to an emerging crisis, inadequate transition services and planning, HIPAA regulations that prevent families/support network from being involved in care or being given information, lack of a care system for mental illnesses that are not yet a crisis but are unmanageable by the individual or family members, and lack of affordability.

Conclusion: The focus group findings reflected a broad range of experiences, preferences, values, and views that highlight the difficulty of addressing complex mental health needs in a model of services and systems that aren’t typically responsive to multi-cultural populations.  This data has the potential to be extremely valuable not only for First Episode Programs, but for anyone providing mental health services to these diverse populations.  For information on local NAVIGATE First Episode Programs or to receive a copy of the full report, please contact Nancy Howe at nhowe@namimn.org.