The Douglas is home to the renowned PEPP program (Prevention and Early Intervention Program for Psychoses). PEPP is directed by Dr. Ashok Malla, a psychiatrist treating patients and a researcher. It attracts clinical and research staff from all over the world who study our methods in order to help people in their home countries.

The PEPP program helps youth suffering from a first episode of psychosis recover from the illness and get their lives (including school, work, and relationships) back on track.

Each young patient that is referred to PEPP is assigned a psychiatrist, a case manager, and a research staff member who work together with the patient to continually assess the effectiveness of the treatments given. Treatment is then altered, if necessary. Knowledge gained from this community of care is applied to other patients.

Reducing delay in recovery is critical for youth because longer untreated illness means missing out on achieving academic, professional, and personal goals. Different forms of family intervention are also integral to the care provided and help with quicker recovery.

The PEPP program will make use of the new MRI machines at the Douglas’ new Brain Imaging Centre.

By performing brain scans on patients, the clinician-researchers of this program have already discovered biomarkers for difficult-to-treat cases of psychosis. Based on these biomarkers, the PEPP staff can identify difficult-to-treat cases in new patients and apply interventions known to be effective for such cases. This significantly shortens the amount of treatment trial-and-error that it might otherwise take for the person to recover.

With such close attention given to each patient in a clinical-research setting, the amount of time it takes for youth treated at PEPP to get back on their feet is significantly reduced at a period in life when people are already fragile. If they fail during these years to build strong relationships and prepare for their life’s work, they might never recoup the loss.