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News today

EPION launches MyCannabisIQ
public education campaign
about risks of Cannabis use

03/08/2018 - 11:00 EST

Second generation long-acting injectable antipsychotic drugs are associated with a reduced number of adverse outcomes for treating patients newly diagnosed with schizophrenia, according to a study published in Schizophrenia Research.


To read the full article, click here.

quentin's story

26/01/2018 - 15:00 EST

Diagnosed in Canada as a teenager, Quentin is proof that with the right treatment, there's hope for people living with schizophrenia. Family, friends and the right treatment plan all play an important role in helping him manage symptoms, prevent relapse, and overcome some of schizophrenia's biggest challenges.


Click here to watch this amazing documentary

avatar therapy

22/02/2018 - 16:43 EST

An experimental therapy which involves a face-to-face discussion between a person with schizophrenia and an avatar representing their auditory hallucination may help reduce symptoms, when provided alongside usual treatment, according to a study published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal.

The randomized controlled trial compared the avatar therapy to a form of supportive counselling (adapted specifically for the study). It found that avatar therapy was more effective at reducing hallucinations at 12-week follow-up, and had a large effect size.

Further research to investigate the treatment's effectiveness in other healthcare settings will be needed, and so the treatment is not yet widely available.

The study is the first large-scale randomized controlled trial of this type of therapy, and was used in people with schizophrenia who had had persistent and distressing auditory hallucinations for more than a year, despite treatment. All participants continued to receive their usual treatment throughout the trial.

Around 60-70% of people who have schizophrenia experience auditory hallucinations that are typically insulting and threatening. For most people, drug treatments reduce these symptoms, but approximately one in four people continue to experience voices. Cognitive behavioral therapy for psychosis (CBTp) can also be helpful but is a lengthy therapy with at times limited effects on voices.

For more information click here for the full post about avatar therapy and click here for a Science Direct Journal covering details on a pilot clinical trial.

Second Generation Long-Acting Injectable Drugs Effective for Schizophrenia

On the eve of Cannabis legalization in Canada, the Early Psychosis Intervention Ontario Network (EPION) is launching a new MyCannabisIQ campaign to educate clinical staff, families, and young people about the risks involved with cannabis use.
Cannabis legalization poses a significant risk to youth under 25 years, particularly those who are vulnerable to or have already experienced psychosis. There is considerable evidence linking cannabis use to psychosis. Teenage marijuana use can induce psychosis several years later. Full recovery from psychosis is possible, but the outlook is more hopeful when young people stop their use. MyCannabisIQ is an initiative championed by EPION's members to help youth, families, and clinical staff stay in-the-know about cannabis, its side effects, and the risk factors to keep in mind.
"Just because something is legal, it doesn’t mean it is safe," says Sarah Bromley, EPION Co-Chair. “We are trying to grow public awareness regarding the risks of using cannabis. The public health education for cigarettes came long after they were legal, which led to damaging health effects for many users. It's important to learn from that and educate the public about the risks of cannabis use—especially for youth—before the damage has been done."
Three MyCannabisIQ resources have been created to educate clinicians, families, and clients on important topics related to the legalization of cannabis. Particular emphasis has been placed on EPION’s role in helping to prepare stakeholders for productive conversations with youth about cannabis use in hopes of reducing the potential negative outcomes of cannabis use on recovery. Print copies have been distributed within EPION's member programs within Ontario, with plans for creating additional resources for different target audiences in the coming months.
The MyCannabisIQ initiative is complemented by a standalone microsite ( The website echoes the key messages of the print materials while allowing for more interactive content and a full clickable reference list. Readers are encouraged to share their own lessons learned on social media by using the hashtag #mycannabisIQ and/or tagging EPION (@help4psychosis) on Twitter.
EPION is a network of people who work in early psychosis intervention (EPI) services in Ontario, individuals who have received EPI services, and their family members and caregivers. EPION helps strengthen early intervention services across Ontario and support the implementation of the MOHLTC’s Early Psychosis Intervention Program Standards, released in May 2011. EPION is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. To learn more about EPION and this campaign, visit: 
For more information, please contact:

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