Research Study Results: Insights from NYWell Randomized Controlled Trial

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Research Study Results: Insights from NYWell Randomized Controlled Trial

NYWell Randomized Controlled Trial_GraphicBlog

June 20, 2024

Our study in collaboration with Northwell Health and the New York State Psychiatric Institute was recently published in Schizophrenia Bulletin, and we’re thrilled to share the results with you! This was a pilot study to explore the effectiveness of a digital marketing campaign at identifying young people with psychosis earlier and connecting them to care. 

What we did

  • Developed an 18-month multi-channel digital marketing campaign focused on identifying young people (and their adult allies) who may be experiencing early signs of psychosis. 

  • Provided free online peer specialist and licensed therapist support, care navigation services.

  • Assessed 371 individuals, of whom 39 had suspected early signs of psychosis. Of those, 51% (20) connected with care. 

Why we did it 

  • Longer lengths of time between the start of psychosis and entry into specialized, comprehensive care is associated with poorer health outcomes. 

  • So, one of the best ways we can ensure better prognosis is to identify those who need support and encourage them to connect to care. 

Key Insights

  • Young people overwhelmingly preferred to remain online and continue to learn about their mental health by taking a symptom quiz. Fewer were interested in connecting to a peer or therapist, and even fewer sought a referral to care. When asked, the number one barrier to advancing to early psychosis care among youth was lack of familial support. 

  • There were key differences in help-seeking behaviors among individuals indicating psychosis-like experiences vs. depression or anxiety. We explored these differences in detail in an earlier paper. There were also key differences between adult allies and youth, which are explored in this paper.

  • All by itself, a digital campaign paired with care navigation services may be too short-term or transactional, and too impersonal to fast track someone into care, which requires a level of awareness, motivation, self-efficacy, and social support that can take time to develop. Notably, while we intended to reach individuals experiencing a first episode of psychosis, we actually interacted primarily with youth in the earliest stages of psychosis-like experiences, known as Clinical High Risk syndrome. This finding was both exciting (because earlier intervention could be even better), but also presented the challenge of motivating a young person to act on relatively subtle experiences.  

New Directions: PAWell

Although we were not able to demonstrate a reduction in the time to care in this pilot project, we are thrilled to have gained important new insights about the nuances of help-seeking online. 

We are presently applying our learnings from the NYWell project to a new project in Pennsylvania, PAWell, where we are working alongside youth and allies with lived experience to refine and test new strategies to identify and support young people experiencing early psychosis. We look forward to sharing insights in the months ahead! 


Note: For those seeking to read the full paper, please request at and we’ll make sure you get a copy.

The strength to persist and thrive through mental health struggles exists in all of us. 🫶🏽

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