Early Youth Engagement in First Episode Psychosis (EYE-2) Study

What is the project about?

This study is about improving services for people who have a first episode of psychosis so that more people want to stay with the service and benefit from its support. The first Early Youth Engagement (EYE) project at the University of Sussex developed a new approach with young people, their parents and Early Intervention in Psychosis (EIP) staff. The EYE approach addresses the issues that can put people off services, like the way staff talk with them, how much family & friends are included, and how much it helps with their goals, treatment choices and preferences. The EYE approach includes a website, booklet series and other resources to support young people and families, and a training programme for staff in how to work flexibly, honestly and openly using key, well established “motivational” techniques to help young people achieve their goals. The EYE-2 project looks to refine this toolkit, resources and training and evaluate its effectiveness, implementation, and cost-effectiveness with participating research sites and EIP teams before disseminating it more widely.

Why is this research important?

Around 7,500 young people in England develop psychosis every year. It is a severe mental health problem that generally starts in people aged 14-35 years and has long-term effects on the individual and society. Early intervention in the first 3 years of psychosis can improve long-term outcomes. However, at least a quarter of all young people drop out of Early Intervention in Psychosis (EIP) services in the first 12 months, leading to greater risk of poor outcomes. Ensuring that young people receive a service quickly is a current NHS priority, but there are no interventions to improve engagement with services.

How are McPin and people with lived experience involved in this research?

The trial benefits from advice and support from people with lived experience in different ways. The Service User Research Forums (SURF) were consulted over several meetings to develop the research question and design for the first EYE project. People with lived experience collaborated to develop the EYE intervention, training, materials, analysis and dissemination strategy, and continue to support the study. E.g. recently organised Lived Experience Advisory Panels (LEAPs) provided advice on the design of questionnaires used in the trial. In addition, a Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) Lead works closely with each participating research site, supported by Tanya Mackay at McPin. PPI Leads are involved in providing part of the trial intervention by organising social groups and events with service users. They also provide additional training to support new research staff joining the study sites.

What’s the current status of the project?

Several work packages of the study are now complete. The implementation material, training and process evaluation tools have been developed. The intervention resources (booklets, website, training packs) have been updated to be more accessible and reflect the diverse background of service users of the different study sites. The identification of over 1000 eligible participants for the randomised clinical trial has now been completed, with follow-up data collection on engagement and other outcome measures ongoing until Spring/Summer 2021.

Where can I find more information?

Further information on the study, participating sites, and contacts to the team can be found at: