Leveraging technology to head off client crises


Health Care for the Homeless is partnering with Johns Hopkins Community Psychiatry in a research study to develop a relapse prevention program for individuals experiencing schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. The study will explore the use of text messaging by providers as a means of communicating with clients in a way that is ongoing and timely—and, as a result, can head off relapses.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness describes schizophrenia as “a serious mental illness that interferes with a person’s ability to think clearly, manage emotions, make decisions and relate to others,” and schizoaffective disorder as “a chronic mental health condition characterized primarily by symptoms of schizophrenia, such as hallucinations or delusion, and symptoms of a mood disorder such as mania and depression.”  From Fall 2014 to Fall 2015, 2,121 Health Care for the Homeless clients were seen by a Health Care for the Homeless mental health provider. Of those clients, 9.2% were diagnosed with either schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder.

A focus group with clients will take place on Tuesday, October 18, 1-2:30 p.m. at 421 Fallsway. The group will discuss what the texts should look like—as in, which language to use and stay away from; identify potential barriers for study participants; and work through the logistics of implementing the study in a way that maximizes its success.

Providers: Please recommend clients you think would be good candidates for the group. Clients who participate in the focus group will receive a $40 Target gift card. 

For more information about the study, please contact Meredith Johnston, MD (mjohnston@hchmd.org), Ryan Stagg, MD (rstagg@hchmd.org), or Lisa Muscato, LCPC (lmuscato@hchmd.org). 

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