Pathways to care in at-risk mental states: a systematic review

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Aim: Pathways to care are well studied in the First Episode Psychosis field, but less attention has been given to At‐Risk Mental States or prodromal psychosis. This is important because accessing appropriate help at the earliest opportunity is likely to improve outcomes, particularly for those who make transition to psychosis. The present systematic review aimed to synthesize the available literature on pathways to care in ARMS or prodromal psychosis, and investigate the barriers and facilitators to receiving care for ARMS.

Methods: The CINAHL Complete, EMBASE, Medline Complete, PsycINFO and PubMED databases were searched. Studies were included if they were published in English between 1985 and 2019, where reported data came exclusively from an At‐Risk Mental State population, and the study described or related to pathways to care.

Results: Ten studies met the inclusion criteria, of which 8 were quantitative. Screening tools and pathways to care instruments varied. Mental health professionals, and general practitioners played a key role in help seeking. Family involvement was also found to be an important factor.

Conclusions: Pathways to care research in At‐Risk Mental States are more scarce than in the field of First Episode Psychosis. More research is warranted, especially concerning the role of patient‐level characteristics on pathways to care. A validated measure of pathways to care may also be of benefit.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1092-1103
Number of pages12
JournalEarly Intervention in Psychiatry
Issue number5
Early online date12 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • at risk mental states
  • help seeking behaviour
  • high risk
  • pathways to care
  • prodromal psychosis
  • treatment delays

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