History

The STEP Program is based at the Connecticut Mental Health Center (CMHC), a community mental health center run collaboratively by State of Connecticut Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services (DMHAS) and the Yale University Department of Psychiatry. STEP evolved from Yale’s pioneering PRIME Clinic (Prevention through Risk Identification, Management and Education), which focuses on identifying and treating people at high risk for a psychotic illness.

Vinod Srihari, MD and his collaborators opened STEP in 2006 as a research program to study the impact of early intervention on people in the first few years of a psychotic illness. Over the years, STEP has been staffed by many talented clinical providers at CMHC, including "Team E," the psychosis team, under the leadership of Leslie Hyman, LCSW and later Deborah Fisk, PhD.

The first STEP study, a randomized clinical trial to evaluate the effectiveness of STEP's approach, was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Donoghue Foundation. The study results were strong, demonstrating that early intervention and well-organized care can have significant benefits for individuals experiencing early psychosis.

In February 2014, STEP reopened with additional resources from DMHAS to expand access to this model of care. STEP now has a second NIH grant to test approaches to shortening the duration of untreated illness. Under the leadership of its new clinical director, Jessica Pollard, PhD, STEP's clinical service has become a distinct unit within CMHC and is now accepting referrals and self-referrals from individuals in Connecticut who meet eligibility criteria.

For information about how to seek clinical treatment at STEP, click here.

For more information about STEP's ongoing research, click here.