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  • 1 July 2018 to 30 September 2019
  • Project No: 416
  • Funding round: FR 16

Psychosis is a serious, long-term mental illness in which sufferers lose contact with reality and may experience hallucinations and unusual thoughts. Schizophrenia is an example of psychosis. Many sufferers do not recover well. They may never stop having symptoms, have a poor quality of life, few friends, no romantic partner and are often unemployed. Poor recovery is less likely if they receive treatment quickly when first ill.

Many people who start to feel unwell go to their GP for help. The job of the GP is to recognise the early stages of a psychotic illness and quickly refer to specialist mental health services who treat early psychosis. Many GPs find this difficult because they see few people with this problem and so cannot build up their diagnosis skills and many of the first symptoms of psychosis could lead to many other mental health problems.

We want to develop a tool to help GPs recognise the early signs. We have already started this work by using GP data collected during patient visits. We found new indicators of risk, e.g. self-harm in young men and that it may be possible to detect these signs much earlier than usually happens now. We will now use this information to develop and test a tool to help GPs detect risk of psychosis. An effective tool would be very useful because it would tell GPs about the risk of developing psychosis for each patient and therefore who to refer to mental health services and would lead to better use of the NHS’s scarce resources, directing treatment where it will be of greatest value. A quicker referral will also improve the outcome for patients and decrease pressure on the NHS by reducing the number of times that patients visit their GP or other services like A&E. 

Amount awarded: £130,420 

Projects by themes

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Evidence synthesis working group

The collaboration will be conducting 18 high impact systematic reviews, under four workstreams.

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