The Complex Interplay Of Substance Use And Service Delivery: The Perspective Of Young People Treated For A First Episode Psychosis

Presentation First Author: 
Suzanne Archie

Objective: It is important to listen to the voices of young people, who have had first-hand experiences with the healthcare system, in order to reform the system so services are more youth-friendly. The system may have even more difficulty engaging first episode psychosis youth who have had problems with substance use. In order to incorporate the perspective of these young people, qualitative methodologies may help researchers to better understand their viewpoint. Methods: Eight focus groups were conducted involving an average of 4-6 participants per group, each group consisting of young people who met provincial inclusion criteria for early intervention programs in Ontario, Canada. Using thematic analysis, transcripts from the focus groups were systematically coded for themes related to substance use and service delivery. Results: Participants included 45 young people diagnosed with affective or non-affective psychosis, 73% of whom were male, with a median age of 23 years. The participant discussions often focused on their substance use and service delivery factors that helped to facilitate their recovery: early intervention, harm reduction, and use of medications. In addition, participants also believed that their substance use was associated with more adverse routes to care, such as police involvement and involuntary admission. Conclusions: Young people with first episode psychosis identified their substance use as an important focus of their treatment, not only because they felt it needed to be addressed to assist recovery, but also because it shaped their experience of entering the healthcare system.

Conference Name: 
Presentation Date: 
January, 2013
Additional Authors: 
Suzanne Archie, Katherine Boydell, Elaine Stasiulis, Tiz Volpe, Brenda Gladstone
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