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  • CAPSTONE Gives Hope to Psychosis Patients

    CAPSTONE Gives Hope to Psychosis Patients

    Setting a New Standard for Psychosis Patients, CAPSTONE Helps Psychosis Patients Live a Normal Life

    The word “psychosis” is a powerful term that carries a frightening social stigma. But while psychosis is a serious condition, the Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute’s CAPSTONE program is redefining its treatment and giving patients hope.

    “It’s important for people to know that psychosis can be treated,” said Amanda Fooks, MSW, LCSW, Lead Therapist, CAPSTONE. “With the right treatment and support, individuals can live a normal life even with symptoms.”

    CAPSTONE is an outpatient program designed to provide comprehensive treatment and support for young adults ages 16 to 30 experiencing early psychosis. “The program focuses on early psychosis because, like any illness, the earlier you start treating it the better the outcome,” explained Fooks.

    Psychosis is a break with reality. It can make it difficult for patients to recognize what is real and what isn’t. These disruptions are often experienced as seeing, hearing and believing things that aren’t real or having unusual and persistent thoughts.

    It’s a common misconception that patients experiencing psychosis need to be hospitalized. But a person only needs to go to the hospital if they are unable to keep themselves or other people safe.

    “If possible, we want to avoid hospitalization,” said Fooks. “We want to help them live as normal a life as possible. And hospitalization can be a traumatic experience in and of itself.”

    Providing Comprehensive Care

    What makes the outpatient CAPSTONE program so effective is the comprehensive nature of the services it offers. The program includes two components. The clinical component includes individual therapy, psychiatry, and family education. The support component includes services like helping patients get a job and providing case management which helps them get to appointments and manage their health.

    “This comprehensive care is possible through the close collaboration of three organization,” said Fooks. The Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute provides the clinical care, the YWCA of Greater Harrisburg provides the employment assistance, and Case Management Unit provides case management support.

    Capstone Program - PPI, YWCA, CMU - Harrisburg, PA

    “Staff from all three organizations, including psychiatrists, are in constant communication about the patient’s condition,” Fooks said. “We work very closely together to provide complete care.”

    Overall, the program aims to reduce symptoms or help patients managed their symptoms by teaching different skills and coping strategies. But the program is successful because it is centered on the participants.

    “People set their own goals,” Fooks noted. “If they are not working, they might set the goal to enroll in HACC and complete the entire year. That’s success by their measure.”

    For some, the symptoms may never completely go away. But the program recognizes that there is a livable amount of symptoms – which may vary by the person – and that’s the balance the program aims to find for each patient.

    If you would like to speak to someone about better managing your stress and anxiety, or to make an appointment, please call (717) 782-6493 for more information.


    Who CAPSTONE Helps

    Due to grant limitations, CAPSTONE is only available to current residents of Dauphin County between the ages of 16 and 30. It is designed for persons experiencing their first episode of psychosis, and requires the individual and their family to participate in services. Even if a person isn’t sure they are experiencing is psychosis, they should contact the Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute as soon as possible and we can help, whatever the diagnosis.

    “It’s important for people to know that psychosis can be treated. With the right treatment and support, patients can live a normal life even with symptoms.”
    —Amanda Fooks, MSW, LCSW, Lead Therapist, CAPSTONE

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