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Ann Marie T. Sullivan, M.D., Acting Commissioner
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

New York State Office of Mental Health Announces OnTrackNY
A New Service Initiative Designed to Help Young Adults with Newly Emerging Psychotic Symptoms

Albany, NY– The New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH), in collaboration with The Center for Practice Innovations at Columbia Psychiatry, The New York State Psychiatric Institute, and The Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene, is pleased to announce the availability of OnTrackNY.

OnTrackNY is an innovative, evidence-based team approach to providing recovery-oriented treatment to young people who have recently begun experiencing psychotic symptoms. These symptoms may include unusual thoughts and beliefs, disorganized thinking, or hallucinations such as hearing or seeing things that others don’t. OnTrackNY helps young adults aged 16 to 30 with newly-emerged psychotic disorders achieve their goals for school, work, and relationships.

“Schizophrenia usually emerges in young adulthood and puts the young adults it strikes at huge risk of going off track. OnTrackNY is all about helping young people stay in school or stay employed while learning how to manage their illness.  By intervening early, we’ll help people to take control of their health and to maintain wellness.  Schizophrenia can emerge within any family, which is why OnTrackNY teams will be open to all New Yorkers with emerging psychosis suggesting schizophrenia. Our goal is to help these New Yorkers get back on track, reduce suffering, and have productive, fulfilling lives.” said Kristin M. Woodlock, Acting Commissioner of the New York State Office of Mental Health.

OnTrackNY will follow principles of care which include shared decision making, youth friendly and welcoming environments, and flexible and accessible recovery oriented services. The program will serve young adults with psychoses suggesting early schizophrenia, within one year of the onset of their psychotic symptoms, regardless of treatment received during that time.

Four partner agencies in the downstate region have been awarded funds for staff, training, and technical assistance. These partner agencies were identified in collaboration with County mental health departments. They are:

OMH has invited Lisa Dixon, M.D., M.P.H., Director of the Center for Practice Innovation at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, to direct the implementation and further develop its provision statewide.  Dr. Dixon is the principal investigator of the RAISE (Recovery After Initial Schizophrenia Episode) Connection Program, which is focused on helping people with recent-onset psychosis get their lives back on track. RAISE is an initiative of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the RAISE Connection Program is jointly funded by NIMH and OMH.

OnTrackNY builds on the successful RAISE initiatives in New York State which showed that early intervention services helps people young people who have just started to experience psychosis stay in school and work. We are excited to be able to enable more New Yorkers in need to access this innovative program.” said Dr. Lisa Dixon, Director of the Center for Practice Innovation at the New York State Psychiatric Institute.

Measuring success of OnTrackNY will include measures of recovery, including staying in or returning to school or employment, improved control of mental illness, and, at a system level, reducing the duration of untreated psychosis.

OnTrackNY treatment teams will consist of a team leader, a recovery coach, a supported employment/education specialist, an outreach and enrollment specialist, a psychiatrist and nurse. Each OnTrackNY treatment team will serve up to 30 individuals and provide a range of treatment including: relapse prevention, illness management, medication management, integrated substance use treatment, case management, family intervention and support, as well as supported employment and education.

Services will be provided in individual and group formats according to consumer preferences and employs outreach strategies with a high value on engaging and retaining consumers and families over time.

Interested or know someone who might benefit from OnTrackNY?

Please visit: http://www.practiceinnovations.org/CPIInitiatives/OnTrackNY/tabid/202/Default.aspx or contact Sapna Mendon at mendons@nyspi.columbia.edu