Japanese Society for Early Intervention and Prevention in Psychiatry

By Masafumi Mizuno.

The 21st Annual Meeting of the Japanese Society for Early Intervention and Prevention in Psychiatry (JSEIP) was held in Naha City, Okinawa on the 9th and 10th of December, 2017. Professor Masafumi Mizuno, a past president of IEPA – Early Intervention in Mental Health; was one of 150 participants that attended. Below he provides reflections and highlights from this important meeting.

In 1996 the first meeting of JSEIP was, coincidently, also held in Okinawa with Professor Patrick McGorry as the Invited Speaker. 20 years on and much has happened in early intervention in Japan. Whilst this year’s meeting was smaller than previous meetings due to the remoteness of Okinawa from the main urban centres, discussions were vibrant and stimulating as always.

Professor Chikara Ogura, the founder of the JSEIP and this year’s Invited Speaker, presented an opening lecture on the history of mental health service development in Okinawa. Professor Ogura recounted the Battle of Okinawa, the last major battle of World War II, which resulted in more than 180,000 people including 94,000 Japanese citizens, having been killed in battle. Ogura contextually brought to light the trauma that survivors experienced and were forced to cope with in the following years. Professor Ogura who began mental health early intervention activities in Okinawa in 1985 then presented on the importance of prevention and mental health development for the declining birthrate in Japan, identifying the mental health of Japanese youth as a key factor contributing to raising healthy young adults in Japan.

The early psychosis treatment guideline “Treatment Plans and Implementation for Early Psychosis: Preliminary Guidance 2017” was published in November this year and launched at JSEIP. This is the first clinical guideline in Japan for early psychosis and includes both the At Risk Mental State (ARMS) and First Episode Psychosis (FEP). This guidance document was led by Professor Masafumi Mizuno, produced by JSEIP members who are leading the early intervention field in Japan and funding was supported by Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED). AMED is a new agency founded by the Japanese Government to promote integrated research and development in the field of medicine, from basic research to clinical trials. The guidance document written in Japanese is freely available and can be downloaded from the JSEIP site.

Other notable highlights included a presentation by Dr Atsushi Nishida and his colleagues titled “Tokyo Teen Cohort Project: What supports help-seeking behavior for youth people?” which revealed the research design and concept for the large-scale birth cohort studies in Tokyo which aims to clarify factors in the prevention of mental health problems and enhancement of well-being in adolescents.

Dr Kazunori Mastumoto, of Tohoku University and colleagues presented recently completed research “An open-label study of cognitive behavioural therapy for individuals with at-risk mental state: feasibility in the Japanese clinical setting” which is soon to be published in Early Intervention in Psychiatry. Panelists discussed challenges in administering Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for ARMS, how to treat trauma in young people, suicide prevention, and a team-approach to working with FEP.

The 22nd meeting of the JSEIP will be held in Tokyo on the 1st of December 2018 at the National Center for Neurology and Psychiatry.

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