SOURCE: Telecare


April 07, 2011 10:44 ET

Early Intervention and Treatment for Serious Mental Illness Is Focus of New Ventura County Program for Teens and Young Adults

Ventura County Behavioral Health Partners With Telecare to Offer Unique "VIPS" Program

VENTURA, CA--(Marketwire - April 7, 2011) - An estimated 14 percent to 20 percent of young people have a mental, emotional or behavioral disorder. Half of adults with these conditions report that the onset occurred during early adolescence. Unfortunately, many individuals go undiagnosed and untreated until symptoms worsen, resulting in a devastating impact on the individual, the family, and community. However, it is possible to identify those at risk of psychosis early in the disease process and to disrupt its course.

Ventura (Early) Intervention Prevention Services, VIPS, is a new program offered by Ventura County Behavioral Health in partnership with Telecare. It is modeled after the nationally recognized Portland Identification and Early Referral (PIER) model and is funded through California's Mental Health Services Act.

"Research shows that educating the public and community leaders increases the chances that a young person will receive early treatment that can slow the progression of psychosis," said Barry Boatman, Psy.D., Program Director. "VIPS is actively reaching out to west Ventura County educators, students, families, and community organizations to provide information about early identification and treatment."

Though an extreme example, the tragic shooting rampage earlier this year in Tucson, Ariz., reminded the nation of the risks that accompany untreated serious mental illness. VIPS is designed to help young people, their families, and the community to destigmatize serious mental illness and identify early warning signs so that appropriate supports can be provided.

Early warning signs may include: a family history of psychosis, a significant decrease in day-to-day functioning, social withdrawal, and a decrease in expression of emotions/ideas. Once identified, individuals are referred to VIPS, where they are carefully evaluated. An individual qualified for the program receives extensive counseling support, cognitive testing, multi-family group counseling, medication counseling and support, and additional therapy designed to help the young person continue to study or work successfully.

Additional information, a brochure, and referral information is available by calling 805-642-7033 or by visiting Telecare,, based in Alameda, California, is one of the largest providers of mental health services in the country. Telecare works in partnership with local, county, state and other behavioral healthcare organizations to design and provide recovery-focused services for high-risk individuals. Telecare is employee-and-family-owned with over 2,200 employees and more than 60 programs in California, Texas, Oregon, Nebraska, North Carolina and Washington.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Daniel Danzig