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PREP Program Information

PREP is a program of expert diagnostic evaluation and comprehensive, developmentally attuned treatment for older adolescents or young adults who are grappling with the early stages of psychotic illness.

PREP is sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health. The program is a joint venture of the Outpatient Department at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center and the Commonwealth Research Center, affiliated with Harvard Medical School and also housed at MMHC.

PREP has as its mission the earlier detection, earlier diagnosis, and earlier treatment of psychotic illnesses, with the aim of better life-long outcome for patients and their families.

Accurate diagnosis is the starting point for appropriate care.   PREP therefore provides a highly specialized diagnostic service available to young people who for the first time are beginning to have psychotic symptoms, such as perceptual changes, delusional ideas, hallucinations, or disorganized thinking.

By providing both patients and families with earlier and more certain diagnosis, state-of-the-art treatment, and comprehensive support, PREP seeks to prevent a single episode of psychosis from evolving into a chronic, debilitating course of illness.

PREP focuses on maintaining a young person's

  • educational and vocational prospects
  • motivation and self-esteem
  • peer and family relationships

PREP seeks to enhance

  • neurocognitive, social, and living skills

PREP emphasizes the prevention of

  • psychotic relapse
  • suicide
  • substance abuse
  • medical morbidity associated with severe mental illness and its treatment, including obesity, diabetes mellitis, adverse lipid profile, and nicotine dependence
  • psychiatric comorbidity, such as anxiety disorders and depression

PREP services for individuals and their families include

  • psychopharmacologic treatment
  • preventative health counseling
  • intensive case management and proactive outreach
  • liaison with community resources and guidance in accessing state or federal benefits
  • family support, education, and problem solving through single-family and multi-family group treatment
  • one-to-one counseling
  • a peer-based, two day a week group program promoting self-responsible behavior, orientation to healthy living, understanding of illness, mutual support and problem-solving

All interventions are aimed at helping young people and their families to get interrupted lives back on track.

Fees for PREP are set on a sliding scale.  The program is open to all Massachusetts residents and their families regardless of economic means.  Although health insurance may be billed if there is coverage, treatment does not depend on the judgments of insurers.

PREP does not require anyone to take part in research.  Opportunities to participate in protocols at the Commonwealth Research Center may occur, but the decision to become a subject in a study are entirely voluntary.

Who is eligible?  The PREP program is open to any citizen of the Commonwealth between age 18 and 30 who is experiencing an early episode of psychotic illness.  (Seventeen year-olds and individuals over thirty are encouraged to apply for special consideration.)

For intakes, inquires, and information regarding the PREP program, please contact:

Ann Findeisen, APRN, BC
PREP Team Leader
Phone: (617) 626-9559
Cynthia Berkowitz, MD

PREP Medical Director:
Phone: (617) 626-9631

Contact Information

Department of Psychiatry
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215