A panel of experts, including researchers, clinicians and people with lived experience, was brought together to develop the new Canadian schizophrenia guidelines for the psychosocial treatment of children and youth with schizophrenia or psychotic disorders.
The ADAPTE process, which relies on adapting existing high-quality guidelines, was used. Existing guidelines for children and youth (mostly from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence [NICE]), as well as CPA adult guidelines, were reviewed and discussed in terms of their adaptability to the Canadian context and their level of recommendation for children and youth. New treatments were also considered when recent meta-analyses suggested their usefulness.
The children and youth psychosocial guidelines include many cross-sectional recommendations in terms of clinical and interpersonal skills needed to work with this clientele, setting and collaboration issues and needed adaptations for specific subpopulations. In terms of specific treatments, the treatments most strongly recommended are family intervention and cognitive behavior therapy. Also recommended, although with different degrees of support, are supported employment/supported education programs, patient education, cognitive remediation, and social skills training. Novel and upcoming psychosocial treatments are also briefly discussed.
These novel Canadian guidelines for the psychosocial treatment of children and youth with schizophrenia or psychotic disorders report evidence-based treatments as well as important considerations for providers who work with this clientele. More studies with children and youth with schizophrenia and psychotic disorders are warranted. If followed, these guidelines should facilitate the recovery of children and youth with schizophrenia or psychotic disorders as well as the recovery of their families.