Kathryn Yates on studying MSc Early Intervention in Psychosis

Kathryn Yates

Find out about Kathryn Yates’s experience studying an MSc Early Intervention in Psychosis at the IoPPN at Kings College London.

Early intervention is about working with people either at risk for psychosis, or those in the early stages of it. It’s important because the earlier we can intervene, the better the outcomes for individuals. Those ‘at risk’ for psychosis often have other mental health problems like anxiety and depression, so it’s also about working with these issues and giving people the maximum chance of functional and symptomatic recovery.

My favourite module was the pharmacology module – it was challenging but the lecturers who taught it were really knowledgeable. I think my favourite lecture was on treatment resistance and what happens when someone doesn’t respond to medication, from the biological reasons why, to how we need to improve treatment for this subgroup.

I did my clinical placement in the Lewisham Early Intervention Service within the South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. I learnt that every patient is different and has their own story that needs to be taken into consideration when formulating treatment plans. I really enjoyed getting directly involved with initial assessments, seeing whether a patient was suitable for our team. The weekly team meetings were also a highlight because I got to see what different clinicians from different backgrounds thought about a complex case.

My research project looked at the neurochemistry of cognition – specifically, I looked at Glutamate and N-acetyl-aspartate (NAA) and tried to see whether these metabolites correlated with executive function in individuals with first episode psychosis. I’m interested in cognition and cognitive impairments are one of the main predictors of poor clinical outcome so I enjoyed reading the literature and seeing the results of the tests of executive function for patients compared to controls.

After completing the MSc Early Intervention in Psychosis, I got a job as a Policy Advisor for the Department of Health. Although this wasn’t specifically mental health related, it was useful to see how policy is developed and implemented. I also met with the Early Intervention in Psychosis Policy team to see what their priorities were which was great.

Within a year of completing the MSc Early Intervention in Psychosis, I was offered the opportunity to do a PhD in Psychiatric Epidemiology. My PhD is specifically looking at the clinicopathological significance of psychotic symptoms in patients attending community child and adolescent mental health services in Ireland.

I’d recommend the MSc Early Intervention in Psychosis because it’s specific enough to psychosis, which is becoming more and more of a priority across the world at the minute, whilst not isolating you from mental health as a whole. Early Intervention is important for all mental health conditions and you can apply what you learn in other areas.

If you are interested in finding out more about the Early Intervention in Psychosis MSc, please visit our online prospectus.

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