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Drs. DeVylder and Schiffman (UMBC) Awarded Grant to Develop and Test an Intervention to Train Social

Assistant Professor Dr. Jordan DeVylder, shown here, and Dr. Jason Schiffman (UMBC Psychology) were awarded an R34 grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to test a novel training intervention for social workers. The training intervention is designed to facilitate the detection and appropriate referral of youth with emerging psychotic symptoms.

The grant was developed in response to a request for proposals by NIMH to address the “duration of untreated psychosis" problem, referring to the significant delays of entry into treatment currently experienced by youth with psychotic disorders (current global average of 2 years from first onset to initiation of treatment).

This three-year project entails the development of a training intervention in which social workers can learn to identify early psychotic symptoms, determine when such symptoms warrant clinical attention, and to make referrals to the specialty “first-episode psychosis” services that are currently available in Maryland through UMB and Johns Hopkins Medical Center. Participants will be randomized to receive the specialized training or general mental health trainings. The aim of the study is to demonstrate that the specialized training can effectively reduce the duration of untreated psychosis from 2 years to a duration closer to the internationally agreed-upon goal of three months.

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