May 2016 news from the Maryland Early Intervention Program (EIP) team!
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The EIP offers specialized programs with expertise in the early identification, evaluation, and comprehensive psychiatric treatment of adolescents and young adults with, or at risk for, psychotic disorders, and uses an integrated approach to address the health and mental health needs of young adults, including providing support for co-occurring substance use disorders, and metabolic and other co-occurring medical conditions.

For more information, contact us at                

phone: 1-877-277-MEIP (6347)               

Biannual Spring EIP Advisory Council Meeting

The EIP Workgroup welcomed our Advisory Council, members from our clinics, and other staff from EIP to our Spring Advisory Council Meeting.  We had a record number of attendees and enjoyed a productive exchange with our varied presenters and panel members!
Dr. Barbara Bazron addressed the workgroup and Advisory Council as the new Executive Director of BHA.

“It is important that EIP expands on peer supports, as there is no greater resource
than the resource and knowledge base of people who have had a similar experience.”
“We know that prevention, intervention, & treatment work; recovery is possible for everyone; EIP plays an important role in all of these areas.”

Thank you to our substance use panelists!
Marc Fishman,  Executive Director of 
Mountain Manor, stated, “There is a significant overlap in drug use and psychosis, and particularly, cannabis use is increasing in this population.” In fact, “youth see cannabis as medicine, not a drug.”  Further, drawing from Sue Tangires work as Director of EPOCH Counseling Services, she emphasized, “These youth may not be connected with even a primary care doctor, so they have other presenting symptoms, in addition to substance use, and they have never talked to a professional about these symptoms. Education is a big piece as well as having youth understand what resources are out there for their symptoms.” Lisa Morrel, Program Administrator at the Western Region of BHA and working with adolescent clubhouses, emphasized that education can occur at the individual and family level.  “The clubhouses have parent’s days to engage parents in treatment. These can include family groups and family navigators, who can build rapport with the family.”
We are looking forward to collaborating further on efforts with substance use providers and organizations! For further information, please check out this
handout on substance use and early psychosis.
Another panel continued our discussion on the status of peer involvement from the national perspective, as well as Maryland’s role in establishing these services.  Kris Wright from Maryland Healthy Transitions, Lauren Grimes from
On Our Own, and Workgroup Member, Melanie Bennett, presented on the peer support model underway within EIP. They also responded to questions about outreach via social media/relevant technology that may be more engaging for younger generations.

National Effort Addresses Early Psychosis

Check out SAMHSA's recent article highlighting our first episode work!

"OnTrack Maryland, offered at Family Services, Inc., is designed for young adults who...may be experiencing early symptoms of psychosis. It’s one of many programs throughout the country that received distinct funding and support from SAMHSA to address first-break psychosis."  


OnTrack Maryland participates as one of the Early Intervention Teams for EIP in Montgomery County, MD.

"As SAMHSA prepares for a second year of block grant set-aside funding to address psychosis, states are starting to report successful results and inspiring stories of recovery just as they consider how best to use the second year of set-aside budget. The 2016 set-aside increased from 5 percent to 10 percent, and must be used to address first-break psychosis, specifically."

"In Maryland, the five percent set-aside of the Federal Block Grant was used to create Coordinated Specialty Care (CSC) teams that included a team leader, a supported employment and education specialist, a recovery coach, and a team psychiatrist, who work collaboratively with youth to identify, assess, and treat early psychosis. The teams, including OnTrack Maryland, were trained extensively to provide services and support to affected young adults and their families."

Screening for Mental Health through the Pharmacy

Coinciding with Mental Health Awareness Month (May), Walgreens, in partnership with Mental Health America, announced the launch of a new initiative aimed at increasing access to mental health care services and resources.

"As the first step toward improving accessibility to services, Walgreens has made available via their online portal free, scientifically based screening tools for depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder, psychosis, substance use and other conditions." For psychosis, the online Prodromal Questionnaire-Brief (PQ-B), a common screening measure is utilized. "MHA will assist with facilitating follow-up treatment and care through referrals to local community providers." Also included are services for medication adherence, behavioral telehealth, and continuing education on mental health to it's pharmacists.

Read more about this initiative or explore the screening tools at the following links: press release from Walgreens; summary articleWalgreen's mental health online portalMHA's screening tools linked to Walgreens

EIP-Related Activities and Events in May

University of Maryland, School of Pharmacy hosted the inaugural PATIENTS (Patient-centered Involvement in Evaluating the effectiveNess of TreatmentS) Day Event

EIP had the privilege to participate in PATIENTS Day on May 13th, a day-long learning session and health fair to educate members of the local community about ongoing projects in the field of patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR). "Because we know that each participant comes to the table with a uniquely valuable perspective, this special event...offers us a chance to bring patients, caregivers, and community advocates to the University to share their stories and experiences with our researchers, and with their neighbors in West Baltimore," said  Dr. Dan Mullins, professor and chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research (PHSR). During the health fair, our outreach team was able to speak with numerous providers, researchers, and individuals from the community about early warning signs, available services for early psychosis, and about some of the patient-centered research opportunities currently underway.

The PATIENTS Program strives to help reduce health disparities by building relationships between patient communities and health care systems to ensure that patients, health care providers, and other partners are actively engaged in research. “True patient-centeredness can only be realized when we put our patients at the heart of all that we do in health care research and delivery — engaging those patients as partners to co-develop research based on questions that they have about their medical [mental health] conditions," Dr. Natalie D. Eddington, Dean and Professor at the School of Pharmacy.


May was National Mental Health Awareness Month

UMBC hosted two special events during Children's Mental Health Awareness Week

Thank you to the strong young adults on our discussion panel who shared their stories related to navigating life and college with mental health challenges!

And thank you to all of those who came out to the Mental Health Awareness FLASHMOB earlier in the day with the YouthFIRST Team!

                                           View the flashmob video HERE 

Continue to spread awareness, decrease stigma, and promote positive mental health throughout the year!

Program Highlight: B.E.S.T. Program & Introduction of New Advisory Council Member

The EIP is excited to announce a new collaboration with the Baltimore City Police Department's B.E.S.T. (Behavioral Emergency Services Team) Program. Coordinated by new EIP advisory council member, Elizabeth Wexler, the EIP outreach team will provide presentations on early psychosis and services offered by EIP at upcoming B.E.S.T. trainings. 

The Behavioral Emergency Services Team was created as an effort to train and support police officers in responding to mental health emergencies.  Officers are trained to respond to crisis calls in a way that de-escalates mental health crises, minimizes arrests, decreases injury to police officers and individuals in crisis, and links individuals with the mental health system.  Officers are educated about the numerous resources in Baltimore City for people with mental health service needs. This helps ensure that, after the initial intervention, citizens they encounter are linked to services and receive meaningful treatment from mental health professionals. The B.E.S.T. training was integrated into the Police Academy in late 2010, so that all police trainees receive the training prior to graduating as patrol officers. 

The program is a partnership with the Behavioral Health System-Baltimore, National Alliance On Mental Illness of Metropolitan Baltimore, Baltimore Crisis Response, Inc., and Baltimore Child and Adolescent Response System, and was established in 2004.


Image taken from news story in 2011 about initiation of BEST into the Baltimore Police Academy
Tip sheet provided by NAMI about interacting with Police
We would also like to welcome our newest EIP advisory council member and coordinator of the B.E.S.T. Program, Elizabeth Wexler, LCSW-C.  Ms. Wexler is a clinical social worker with over 25 years of experience.  She has worked in hospitals and community clinics, with the elderly, children, and adults. Ms. Wexler has worked in settings from an emergency room to a clinic for the homeless.  She has provided assessment, crisis intervention, mental health therapy and case management.  Her current position, with Behavioral Health System-Baltimore, is the coordinator of the B.E.S.T. Program.  She works in conjunction with the Baltimore Police Department, providing training for law enforcement to help them identify and effectively intervene in behavioral health crises.
We are looking forward to Ms. Wexler's contributions and perspective related to her work with the Police Department!

Peer Support Workgroup

The work-group is planning on meeting approximately monthly to focus on leveraging current opportunities for peer supports in EIP and other organizations that could benefit from peer support.  The next meeting will be June 17, 2016 at 3 pm.  If you’re interested in joining the peer-involvement workgroup, please contact Melanie Bennett. Don't forget the good news, two young adult peer positions will be created at each of the Maryland Early Intervention Teams' clinic sites, with the hiring process beginning this fall!

Please CLICK HERE to access the original peer-support for FEP guidance manual developed by Dr. Jones.

As always, don't forget about Maryland EIP's four services to support individuals, families, and professionals who may encounter early psychosis:

  1. Outreach and Education Services – To behavioral health providers, schools, primary care settings, and consumer organizations. For more information or to schedule a presentation to your organization, contact Eryn Bentley.
  2. Clinical Services – For 12-30-year-olds who present with clinical high risk symptoms that may be predictive of future psychosis, who have early signs of psychosis, or are in the initial stages of psychoses. Services include the Strive for Wellness Clinic, the MPRC First Episode Clinic (FEC), and the Division of Community Psychiatry’s RAISE Connection Program. The Maryland Early Intervention Program Network currently provides services via two Early Intervention Teams: Johns Hopkins Early Psychosis Intervention Clinic (EPIC) & OnTrack Maryland at Family Services, Inc.
  3. Consultation Services – To providers regarding identification and treatment for individuals that may be experiencing symptoms that may be predictive of future psychosis, who have early signs of psychosis, or are in the initial stages of psychoses.
  4. Training and Implementation Support Services – Will establish Early Intervention Teams (EITs) throughout the state and create a learning collaborative so that EITs and others providing services to those with early psychosis can collaborate, share resources, and provide support and coordination of service delivery.

All EIP initiatives may be contacted through our toll free number or e-mail. A trained specialist is available to guide you toward the appropriate services. For more information on accessing services offered through the EIP, visit

Copyright © 2015, Maryland Early Intervention Program (EIP), All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
University of Maryland, Baltimore
School of Medicine
737 W. Lombard Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
1 (877) 277-MEIP (6347)

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