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Your Healthy Family: David Lawrence Centers "On Track" early psychosis treatment program

Posted at 9:06 AM, Mar 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-24 09:06:13-04

NAPLES, Fla. — The David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health in Naples is taking patients for a new program called "On Track: Specialized Treatment in Early Psychosis." Collier County is one of two in the 14-county region to get money for this program from the federal government.

"If we intervene early with some specialty care, we see a huge return on that investment in terms of quality of life and the trajectory of an individual's life," Nancy Dauphinais, the Chief Operating Officer at the David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health, said.

Early intervention is the focus of the David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health's new program "On Track." Dauphinais said it's a type of coordinated specialty care for people typically under the age of 30 who are experiencing early symptoms of psychosis.

“Early being within the previous two years they started to experience unusual symptoms. And those symptoms persist for more than two weeks," she said.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, signs of early psychosis can include:

  • Hearing, seeing, tasting, or believing things others don't
  • Persistent, unusual thoughts or beliefs
  • Strong and inappropriate emotions or no emotions at all
  • Withdrawing from family or friends
  • A sudden decline in self-care
  • Trouble thinking or concentrating

The CEO and President of the David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health, Scott Burgess, said the goal of the "On Track" program is to help people who are navigating those symptoms stay on track.

"If we can catch individuals that are 13, 14, 15 years old, and we're providing education to the individual and the family, and we're providing counseling, and maybe medication and other forms of support, it can literally change the life trajectory of these individuals," Burgess said.

Dauphinais told Fox 4 people are referred to this program through the David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health Crisis Stabilization Unit, his or her school, the criminal justice system, or even family.

"Often times it might be family members that recognize this individual has developed these symptoms and these issues, and want to learn more about getting specialized help," she said.

She said a multi-disciplinary team of professionals work together to design a program tailored to that specific patient's goals for recovery. That team includes nurse practitioners, doctors, therapists, staff to support employment and education, and peer support.

"That's connecting individuals who are in the program with a peer who has lived experience of navigating the same challenges," Dauphinais said.

She said she knows that sometimes just the word "psychosis" could be scary for the person having symptoms, and the community. So she hopes this program educates Southwest Florida about what psychosis is, and how to support people who may be experiencing unusual thoughts or behaviors.