Area of Focus

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The Northwest MHTTC provides specialized training in Evidence-Based Practices (EBPs) for Psychosis. Our team is a dynamic group of faculty and staff in the SPIRIT Lab (Supporting Psychosis Innovation through Research, Implementation & Training) within the University of Washington School of Medicine. We partner with stakeholders in our region to train and support the behavioral health workforce with empirically-backed, evidence-based and culturally informed behavioral health treatments in HHS Region 10 (Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington). Our approach is always informed by adult learning principles and implementation science frameworks.

Living with a serious mental health condition can have a profound effect on self-esteem, identity, connections to others, health outcomes, and functioning. Despite proven effectiveness of EBPs for serious mental illness, few programs deliver these services consistently or with high fidelity. Our faculty provide training, consultation, technical assistance, and fidelity assessments to support sustainable implementation of EBPs that enhance the recovery of individuals living with serious mental illness. We aim to improve the lives, care and outcomes for people living with schizophrenia and other serious mental illnesses and their families by providing communities, clinicians, policy-makers and others in the field with the information and tools they need to incorporate evidence-based practices in their settings. 

What is a serious mental illness?

Serious mental illnesses include schizophrenia-spectrum disorders, bipolar disorder, as well as other major mood and psychotic disorders that cause significant difficulties with carrying out meaningful life roles and activities. Given the typical onset in adolescence and early adulthood, psychotic and mood disorders are leading causes of years lived with disability. Compared to their peers, people experiencing a serious mental illness are at substantially increased risk of unemployment, incarceration, homelessness, social isolation, medical and substance use comorbidities, as well as a substantially shorter life expectancy.

What is Evidence-Based Practice?

Evidence-based practice includes treatments or service programs that have demonstrated effectiveness in targeting a range of clinical and recovery outcome domains. Our center supports the behavioral health and allied workforce to implement specific evidence-based practices for psychosis, including Assertive Community Treatment (ACT); Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Psychosis (CBTp); Coordinated Specialty Care for Early Psychosis (CSC); and evidence-based lifestyle programs.



What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Psychosis? 

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Psychosis (CBTp) is the standard of care for individuals with schizophrenia spectrum disorder. Despite an evidence base that spans more than 25 years, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for psychosis (CBTp) is not widely available in community mental health settings in the United States. In order to effectively address the science-to-practice gap, we must exponentially increase the number of trained CBTp providers while maintaining high standards for competence and adherence.

Learn more about CBTp here.



What is Assertive Community Treatment?

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Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) is an effective, evidence-based, recovery-oriented mental health service delivery model that utilizes a trans-disciplinary team approach providing intensive outreach-oriented services to individuals with severe and persistent mental illnesses and co-occurring disorders. Although ACT has been widely disseminated, practical challenges related to enhancing staff competencies in the delivery of psychosocial interventions can severely hinder the effectiveness of this EBP.

Learn more about ACT here.


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