Effort Aimed at Providing Early Screening and Ongoing Treatment for Youth and Young Adults at Risk of Early Onset Schizophrenia.

DECATUR, Georgia – March 25, 2015 – DeKalb Community Service Board (CSB) was selected to participate in the National Council for Behavioral Health’s 2015 Early Onset Schizophrenia Community of Practice (COP), which will take place from March 2015 through October 2015.

“We are excited to be recognized by the National Council for our excellence in the care of Early Episode Psychosis treatment,” said Joseph Bona, MD, MBA, Chief Medical Officer of DeKalb CSB.  “We applaud the National Council’s approach to supporting local excellence in the diagnosis and treatment of youth and young adults at risk for early onset schizophrenia.”

DeKalb CSB was selected as one of ten participating organizations out of nearly 60 applicants.  COP participants will develop a strategic plan which will include community resources that can be utilized as a point of screening and/or referral for screening, clinical best practices for this target population, potential funding sources and recommended practices needed to best serve this population and their families.

Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe, and disabling mental disorder characterized by deficits in thought processes, perceptions, and emotional responsiveness.  Schizophrenia affects nearly 1% of Americans.  Emerging evidence strongly suggests that early recognition and treatment of schizophrenia can positively alter the natural course of the illness and potentially provide full recovery. “We are especially excited to bring this specialty care to the citizens of DeKalb County,” said Dr. Bona.

The Early Onset Schizophrenia Community of Practice will provide valuable insights to support and broaden DeKalb CSB’s Prevention and Early Intervention Program (“PEIP”).   PEIP is a surveillance and monitoring program that strives to reduce the duration of untreated psychosis in youth.  This program identifies youth at ultra-high risk of developing schizophrenia before they experience their first psychotic break.

“The PEIP program is imperative to stop individuals from being permanently disabled for the rest of their lives,” shares Rachel Weissman, Team Lead of the Prevention and Early Intervention Program.

DeKalb CSB is a public, nonprofit organization that provides a wide range of evidence-based behavioral health and developmental disability services.  Through more than 20 locations across DeKalb County, DeKalb CSB serves more than 10,000 children, adolescents and adults annually to help them recover and resume productive lives.  DeKalb CSB employs more than 500 staff, and is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).   Learn more about DeKalb Community Service Board at www.dekcsb.org