Apologies for the long break since before IEPA last year. Hopefully, there will be more regular postings and this will be a good forum for building the international community around vocational recovery in first episode psychosis and perhaps more broadly, youth mental health. However, to pick up where things left off a brief report from the iFEVR meeting in Milan last October.
Functional recovery of young people with psychosis has been a growing area of interest clinically, in research and from a policy perspective over the last 10 years. This led to the formation of the international first episode vocational recovery (iFEVR) group in 2008. Apart from the production of the Meaningful Lives consensus statement, iFEVR has since 2010 held a satellite meeting to the main IEPA conference. Since 2012 this has been in conjunction with our partners at iPhYS whose focus is on physical health in psychosis. The 10th IEPA in Milan gave the opportunity for the 4th such meeting and it was a great distillation of the state of the area of vocational recovery in first episode psychosis. The morning session was run by iFEVR. The meeting heard about the impressive functional recovery elements of the RAISE program in the USA from Professor Kim Meuser. Young people engaging with the RAISE Navigate project were enthusiastic about functional recovery but results were not as high as those reported in some RCTs of IPS supported employment. Professor Meuser discussed various reasons why this might be so, including that the criteria for entrance to supported employment in RAISE being possibly different from some of the RCTs that had gone before. The meeting then heard from Dr Wenche ten Velden Hegelstad from TIPS in Stavanger in Norway and Dr Luana Turner from UCLA who have been leading a project to develop a fidelity scale for Individual Placement and Support that includes education which is a major vocational goal for young people. As well as presenting the work to date they were soliciting sites to pilot the fidelity scale. A number of sites volunteered and this work will be reported on in 2018. We also heard a local Italian perspective on employment rehabilitation from Dr Silvia Gazzola from Piacenza. Eóin Killackey then presented a history of the Meaningful Lives consensus statement and opened up the question of whether or not it was time to revise the statement. It was agreed that it was since it was released in 2008. A working group was formed to develop this with a view to it also being launched in 2018.
A new element of the day long meeting this time was the inclusion of some short ‘Bolts from the blue’ presentations. Thus we heard about the development of peer-led toolkits for addressing higher education disparities from Dr Nev Jones from the Feldham Institute in San Francisco, improving vocational recovery by combining IPS and motivational interviewing from Dr Dorethea Jackal from Berlin, and Vocational Case Management which incorporates vocational recovery functionsinto the case management role in Montreal from Dr Amal Abdel-Baki.
On reflection, this was an inspiring day. There has been a huge growth in interest and activity in these areas over the last decade and the continued growth of the satellite meeting reflects this.