RAISE Study Results

The results of the RAISE study prove early intervention improves recovery outcomes for individuals.

RAISE is the Recovery After Initial Schizophrenia Episode study that NIMH funded over the years now.

Participants in the study had better outcomes with intensive early intervention focused on family support and education, social skills and job training, and therapy and medication.

The new program that was used in the study that obtained the spectacular results will be rolled out in mental health centers across America.

The time has come to focus on early intervention.

I think that for too long since (and even now still when) mental health staff thought and think no one with schizophrenia could recover their attitude was: “Why even bother making innovations to try to help them recover.”

Exactly how these staff members were treating patients and the services they provided left a lot to be desired.

Close to 30 years later after my ill-fated experiences in a community mental health system I call what happened to me an injustice. The word injustice is a strong word however it’s what I now use to describe how a gifted and intelligent young person like I was had been shunted into a long-term  traditional day program. Instead of being encouraged to find a job and live independently.

Yet in this regard I’ve changed my tune about that two-year detour. It enables me to speak with authority about what happened because I have lived experience in a mental health system.

As a person with lived experience I have empathy for others diagnosed with mental illnesses. As a person who came up out of a somewhat dysfunctional system I’m living proof that you are not doomed to living at the mercy of what mental health staff tell you that you can and can’t do for the rest of your life.

Decide for yourself. Shout louder to champion your goals if you have to.

Early intervention: I’m all for it.

Support, appropriate medication, and practical career counseling: what I call the Triangle of Mental Health: I’m all for this too.

Author: Chris Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Left of the Dial. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health. As well as an author and activist, Bruni is an artist and athlete.

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