How to Help Homeless Youth Suffering from First Episode Psychosis and Substance Use Disorders? 

The Creation of a New Intensive Outreach Intervention Team

In Canada, about 6,000 youth are homeless every night, many of whom suffer from addiction and psychotic disorders. To facilitate the exit out of homelessness, access to care and to improve psychosis and addiction outcomes, a new intensive outreach intervention team (EQIIP SOL) was created in Montreal (2012). It offers intensive outreach services dedicated to homeless youth suffering from first episode psychosis and addiction (HYFEPA) in addition to an early psychosis intervention service (EIS) in collaboration with the Addiction Psychiatry Unit. Our aim is to describe the characteristics, clinical, functional and housing outcomes of HYFEPA followed by EQIIP SOL. This two years long prospective longitudinal study with all HYFEPA (n = 42) admitted to EQIIP SOL between 2012–2015 reports at multiple time points, clinical (CGI, GAF), functional (SOFAS, work/study, housing autonomy) and substance use disorder (DUS, AUS) outcomes and acute services use (hospitalizations, emergency room visits). We observed that, at baseline, HYFEPA showed poor prognostic factors (eg. cluster B personality, substance use disorders, legal problems, childhood trauma and lower education level). The majority reached housing stability after 6 months and their functioning and illness severity improved with time. This suggests that HYFEPA improve with an intensive outreach intervention team integrated to an EIS.


Integrated intensive outreach interventions for HYFEPA contribute to better outcomes.

80% of HYFEPA achieve housing stability and remain engaged in services at 24 months.

There is a significant reduction over time of substance use disorders.


Publication Date: 
Journal Name: 
Psychiatry Research