Flushing Meadows, New Jersey—A study published in the American Journal of Public Health finds that health care workers can increase mental health care in patients who were receiving a mental health treatment that had been provided by mental health providers.

Researchers examined data from more than 2,000 Florida residents with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

The researchers found that people who had received a mental healthcare treatment, such as medication, therapy, counseling, and peer support, reported fewer negative emotions and fewer negative behaviors than those who had not received the treatment.

“This study is the first to explore the effectiveness of this intervention in helping individuals who are receiving a treatment that is currently being used by the majority of Florida mental health professionals to improve their mental health,” said lead author Robert L. Cauley, PhD, from the University of Florida.

Cauley’s study focused on two types of mental healthcare interventions: a brief intervention (called an “emotional intervention”) and a longer-term intervention (also called a “treatment”) for schizophrenia.

The study focused specifically on the Long Term Outcome Evaluation and Treatment (LTOET) for schizophrenia, which involves an outpatient visit by a clinician.

The LTOET intervention focuses on reducing symptoms and symptoms-related thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and reduces the likelihood of relapse.

Caulley and his colleagues evaluated the effectiveness and safety of the LTOETS for patients in Florida who were not receiving treatment.

Participants who received the LTS interventions reported fewer depressive symptoms and more positive emotions, including less fear, sadness, anger, and anxiety, than those in the control group.

Participants also reported fewer anxiety-related symptoms and less depression symptoms than those receiving treatment alone.

Causley and colleagues also found that the intervention had no effect on people with a history of psychosis, a condition in which patients experience heightened anxiety and are at increased risk for psychosis.

In addition, participants in the LTIET group reported significantly fewer negative affective symptoms than the control participants.

Participants in the intervention group reported that their mental wellbeing improved, and more often, in the two weeks after receiving the LTBET treatment.

“This is important, because people with schizophrenia who are not receiving care are at greater risk for relapse, and relapse is associated with symptoms that are more severe than they were before receiving the treatment,” said Cauly.

“Our results suggest that if people receive mental healthcare care, they may benefit from having their care provided by trained mental health practitioners, who may provide care in a safer environment,” he said.

“I believe the LBTTT intervention could help people who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder who are seeking treatment for depression or anxiety to better understand and access treatment.”

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