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Prairie St. John’s psychiatric hospital, seen in 2017, at 510 4th St. S. in Fargo. Forum News Service file photo

Fargo hospital gets $100K to treat first episodes of psychosis in youth

FARGO — A psychiatric hospital here is receiving about $100,000 in funding to provide services aimed at treating the first signs of psychosis in youth.

As part of a partnership between the North Dakota Department of Human Services and Prairie St. John’s psychiatric hospital, the money is going toward an initiative called first episode psychosis treatment.

Psychosis is a symptom mood disorder like bipolar and depression, schizophrenia, or substance abuse, often manifesting itself through hallucinations, paranoia and disorganized thinking, said Monica McConkey, director of business development at Prairie St. John’s, 510 4th St. S. in Fargo.

Generally, first episodes of psychosis happen between the ages of 15 and 25.

The initiative's goal is to intervene and respond to the problems at the beginning before the symptoms become more severe, said Pamela Sagness, director of the Behavioral Health Division at the Department of Human Services.

McConkey said individuals with psychosis who received help within their first year of experiencing symptoms, called the “critical period,” have higher rates of success in controlling the problem.

“The longer psychosis goes untreated ... it’s more difficult for medication to work,” McConkey said.

In addition to clinical and psychiatric help, first episode psychosis treatment involves therapy, medication management, supported employment and education, and family support, McConkey said.

The state is funding the program through a federal grant allocated yearly across the nation to support mental health programs, Sagness said.