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Four Rivers Behavioral Health Launches Early Onset Psychosis Program for Youth

PADUCAH, KY – Four Rivers Behavioral Health has been awarded a grant by the Kentucky Department for Health and Human Services Mental Health Division to begin treatment of adolescents, teens and young adults experiencing early onset psychosis.

The iHope Program is designed to work with clients to develop an individualized program for treatment of early onset psychosis in youth. Psychosis most often occurs for the first time between the ages of 15 and 25. Early Identification and intervention can help reduce symptoms, severity and duration of psychotic episodes and is key to helping adolescents and young adults deal with psychosis.

Beverly Craig, program director of iHope said, “Early treatment is very effective and leads to a healthier life. School failures become school successes and the risk of suicide, accidental death or harm are reduced significantly.”

She continued, “Every year, around 100,000 adolescents and young adults in the U.S. will experience their first psychotic episode. We want to be there to provide help from the very beginning so that these young people can have a healthy, happy life.”

Some of the causes of psychosis can include a genetic vulnerability, head trauma, brain tumors, drug use, severe stress, sleep deprivation, medical conditions and other causes.

Gretchen Roof, vice-president of clinical services at Four Rivers Behavioral Health said, “Early treatment ensures a better and faster recovery by reducing symptom progression. With treatment, these young people can maintain a personal identity and be an advocate for themselves. Potentially avoiding hospitalization.”

Roof went on to say, “The likelihood of successful treatment outcomes and fewer problems in adulthood are increased dramatically with early treatment.”

There are several early warning signs of psychosis including: hallucinations, delusions, cognitive and sensory problems, speech and movement difficulties, as well as an inability to tell what’s real from what isn’t.

In addition, there are several behaviors that may indicate psychosis such as having trouble reading or understanding complex sentences or trouble with speaking and understanding speech.

It is important to note that none of these alone should be considered an immediate indication of early psychosis. However, they are cause for concern and parents are encouraged to express their concerns to their family physician or make an appointment with a therapist to discuss changes in children’s behavior.

Four Rivers Behavioral Health’s iHope Program will rely heavily on referrals from family doctors and pediatricians as well as internal referrals from the agency’s own Center for Specialized Children’s Services. Further, school guidance counselors and nurses certainly will be a source of client referral.

The iHope Program for early onset psychosis treatment is just one of many services for adults, young adults and children offered by Four Rivers Behavioral Health.

In addition to the iHope program, Four Rivers Behavioral Health offers traditional counseling and psychiatric services as well a programs and services to treat substance abuse issues, opportunities for group therapy sessions and a variety of treatment options for other mental health concerns. The organization’s Center for Specialized Children’s Services has a team of clinicians who focus specifically on children’s mental health issues and includes the area’s only board certified child psychiatrist.

Additional services are available from Four Rivers Behavioral Health for those with Intellectual/Developmental disabilities including a day training program, case management services, supported employment and more.

Four Rivers Behavioral Health is a private, not-for-profit agency that for more than 50 years has provided comprehensive mental health, substance abuse and developmental/intellectual disability services to clients in Ballard, Calloway, Carlisle, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Livingston, McCracken, and Marshall Counties.

For more information about the iHope Program or any of our other children’s services, contact Four Rivers Behavioral Health at 270.442.7121 or visit the company’s website at

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