Online tool developed to identify emerging mental health problems in young people

A new online tool has been developed to help identify young people with emerging signs of mental health problems.

Researchers from the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology developed the online tool as part of the MRC-funded Youth Mental Health Risk and Resilience Study (Your Study), which was developed to help identify the neurological mechanisms and predictors of psychosis risk

The tool is a web-based screening process that consists of a 25-item questionnaire which determines the basic symptoms of psychosis. After this initial stage, participants who met inclusion criteria were invited to participate in a face-to-face clinical assessment to determine any risk of psychosis.

Of the study’s 2,279 participants, 1,787 were invited for a clinical interview and 356 interviews were then conducted. The researchers also found that almost one third of those interviewed were found to be at risk for developing psychosis.

The researchers state that a web-based screening process could be an important strategy for the early diagnosis and treatment of mental health problems in young people.

Psychosis is currently detected though interviews by trained professionals with patients who are already within the healthcare system. The condition causes people to perceive or interpret things differently from those around them, with symptoms including hallucinations or delusions.

Professor Peter Uhlhaas from University of Glasgow’s Centre of Cognitive Neuroimaging, said: “Our findings show that e-health applications are an important approach in the intervention and diagnosis of psychotic disorders, and it’s important to develop new, modern ways of identifying young people at risk.

“Our tool could help circumvent clinical entry points and help spot the potential signs of psychosis and related mental disorders sooner rather than later; and, crucially, help identify those who would benefit from more detailed psychiatric assessments.”



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