- Massachusetts Department of Mental Health
With guidance from community members who have first-hand experience with psychosis and other expert stakeholders, the Massachusetts DMH has partnered with the Laboratory for Early Psychosis (LEAP) Center, the Massachusetts Psychosis Network for Early Treatment (MAPNET), and the Northeastern University Institute for Health Equity and Social Justice Research (IHESJR) to develop the Massachusetts Strategic Plan for Early Psychosis (Mass STEP). The Mass STEP outlines priorities for mobilizing actions centered around prevention efforts, treatment services, and the system-level coordination needed to build up an adequate system of care for individuals living with psychosis in Massachusetts. Mass STEP acknowledges the difficult history of psychiatry and the racialization of psychotic disorders which continues to serve as a barrier to trust and engagement with some BIPOC communities. Mass STEP includes attention to diversity in religion and spirituality, familial culture, language barriers, gender and sexuality, and youth culture. It also prioritizes attention to the needs of BIPOC communities experiencing and managing discrimination, racially motivated violence, marginalization, and exclusion. All of these factors impact mental health and well-being, including experiences of psychotic symptoms and disorders. Mass STEP advocates for the development and implementation of early-course psychosis services informed by the principles of cultural sensitivity and humility.