Support for Wellness Achievement Programme (SWAP): clinical and demographic characteristics of young people with at-risk mental state in Singapore

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Abstract

Aim:

Individuals with at-risk mental state (ARMS) experience subtle changes in thinking, behaviour and emotion before their first psychotic episode. Research has shown intervention provided during this period could delay, reduce, or even prevent the conversion to psychosis. In March 2008, the Support for Wellness Achievement Programme (SWAP) was launched for the assessment and treatment of patients with ARMS in Singapore. This paper examines the sociodemographic and clinical characteristics of patients at baseline.

Methods:

In total, 384 patients were screened and 155 were accepted into the service. All patients were evaluated using the Comprehensive Assessment of At-Risk Mental State (CAARMS). Severity of psychopathology was assessed by Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale for Schizophrenia (PANSS) and levels of functioning were assessed using the Social and Occupational Functioning Assessment Scale (SOFAS).

Results:

The mean age of the patients was 21.0 years (standard deviation (SD) = 3.5) and 69.7% were men, 42.6% had a relative with a mental health problem and 69.8% met the criterion solely for the attenuated symptoms group. The mean PANSS total score was 48.9 (SD = 10.8). There was also a high rate of comorbidity with 34.8% having depression and 20.0% had anxiety disorders. The mean baseline SOFAS score was 51.5 (SD = 9.8), indicating moderate impairment in their functioning.

Conclusion:

These preliminary findings have highlighted that our data are similar to other ARMS programmes, and in addition to the management of ARMS, there is a need to treat both the comorbidities and impairment in social occupational functioning.

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