The Center of Prevention and Evaluation (COPE) is a clinical research program located at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University Medical Center. COPE’s focus is teenagers and young adults who are experiencing a certain set of problems – specifically anxiety, social withdrawal, unusual thoughts, and sensory misperceptions. This constellation of symptoms is called the “at-risk mental state” and is associated with both current difficulties in function and an increased risk for developing psychosis, as compared with peers.
COPE’s mission is to increase understanding about the risk for and early stages of evolving psychotic disorder. With a greater understanding about the at-risk mental state, we can improve detection and intervention aimed at preventing psychosis and improving function. At COPE, studies are underway that aim to help us better identify who is likely to develop psychosis by studying the senses, brain imaging, cognitive functioning, and the effect of stress on the mind.
Only about 30% of people identified as being at risk go on to develop psychosis. Nevertheless, COPE recommends clinical treatment for its participants and offers them cost-free medication consultation and psychotherapy for two years.