Coordinated specialty care (CSC) has been shown to be more effective for the treatment of first episode psychosis (FEP) than usual care, resulting in better functioning, fewer symptoms, fewer relapses, and less hospital use. The number of CSC teams has increased dramatically in the U.S. since federal funding has been provided to support states’ implementation; Texas currently has 27 CSC teams. 

This rapid growth of early psychosis intervention programs, operating with similar core features and serving similar participants, provides a unique opportunity. By utilizing a standard battery of reliable service and outcome measures, a data informatics system to facilitate shared data and feedback, and staffing to support quality improvement and research infrastructure, Texas can create an environment in which providers, program administrators, and policy makers can continuously develop new knowledge. 

The Texas Institute for Excellence in Mental Health (TIEMH) will serve as the hub for the Early Psychosis Intervention Network in Texas (EPINET-TX), which consists of CSC programs operating in public mental health centers in the state. The regional network will support a culture of measurement-based care and create a framework for addressing research questions that impact the service-delivery system, contribute to the research literature, and reduce the burden of psychosis on young people and their families.

EPINET-TX will involve a series of studies that aim to advance our understanding of optimal ways to address substance misuse in young people with early psychosis. The first study will use a chart review approach to examine whether standard CSC-model interventions are successful at engaging participants in behavior change and the extent to which diverse participants (e.g., African American, Latinx) directly identify reduced substance use as a goal. Qualitative studies will examining the perceptions of CSC participants and CSC peer specialists on the feasibility and acceptability of peer-led interventions for supporting substance use recovery. After partnering with peer specialists and individuals receiving CSC services to develop the intervention, Invest in My Recovery Bank, a pilot study will be conducted to examine the feasibility of deployment, study recruitment, retention, and other study procedures. Other research studies will be developed through the EPINET-TX collaboration. This work will set the stage for a statewide partnership with researchers, decision-makers, providers, young people and their families to become a healthcare system that uses data to continuously learn and transform.