Mapping the implementation and challenges of clinical services for psychosis prevention in England

Andrés Estradé*, Tom John Spencer, Andrea De Micheli, Silvia Murguia-Asensio, Umberto Provenzani, Philip McGuire, Paolo Fusar-Poli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Introduction: Indicated primary prevention of psychosis is recommended by NICE clinical guidelines, but implementation research on Clinical High Risk for Psychosis (CHR-P) services is limited. 

Methods: Electronic audit of CHR-P services in England, conducted between June and September 2021, addressing core implementation domains: service configuration, detection of at-risk individuals, prognostic assessment, clinical care, clinical research, and implementation challenges, complemented by comparative analyses across service model. Descriptive statistics, Fisher's exact test and Mann-Whitney U-tests were employed. 

Results: Twenty-four CHR-P clinical services (19 cities) were included. Most (83.3%) services were integrated within other mental health services; only 16.7% were standalone. Across 21 services, total yearly caseload of CHR-P individuals was 693 (average: 33; range: 4–115). Most services (56.5%) accepted individuals aged 14–35; the majority (95.7%) utilized the Comprehensive Assessment of At Risk Mental States (CAARMS). About 65% of services reported some provision of NICE-compliant interventions encompassing monitoring of mental state, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and family interventions. However, only 66.5 and 4.9% of CHR-P individuals actually received CBT and family interventions, respectively. Core implementation challenges included: recruitment of specialized professionals, lack of dedicated budget, and unmet training needs. Standalone services reported fewer implementation challenges, had larger caseloads (p = 0.047) and were more likely to engage with clinical research (p = 0.037) than integrated services. 

Discussion: While implementation of CHR-P services is observed in several parts of England, only standalone teams appear successful at detection of at-risk individuals. Compliance with NICE-prescribed interventions is limited across CHR-P services and unmet needs emerge for national training and investments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number945505
Number of pages14
JournalFrontiers in Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jan 2023


  • at-risk mental state (ARMS)
  • clinical high risk for psychosis
  • psychosis
  • psychosis prevention
  • schizophrenia

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