Mental Health Attitudes of Youth (MAY) Study

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Mental Health Attitudes of Youth (MAY) Study 2017-10-20T07:47:57+00:00

The PIER MAY (Mental Health Attitudes of Youth) Study is an innovative research program that provides assessment and referral for young people between 12 and 35 who are showing the early signs of a serious mental illness.

It is one of three such MAY Study sites—the other two sites are located at Harvard and Columbia. Individuals seeking help for recent changes in thinking and functioning can receive screening and assessment through the PIER MAY Study.

From 2000-2011, the PIER (Portland Identification and Early Referral) Program was a treatment research program with the mission of reducing the incidence of psychotic illnesses (such as schizophrenia, major depression, and bipolar disorder) in the Greater Portland area. Between 2011 and June of 2015, funding sources to support the active treatment component of the PIER Program disappeared, but new funding sources have appeared to reactivate the PIER Program. 

Anyone within the State of Maine can be referred to the MAY PIER Study.  If an adolescent or young adult seems to be dealing with the early symptoms of a serious mental illness, please make a referral to the study. The individual may qualify for a thorough assessment of their symptoms, with follow-up at six months as well as an optional referral for services. Study participants are eligible for small stipends for their time.

For more information or to make a referral, please call

(207) 662-3681

Today, the PIER MAY Study is investigating the experiences of young people who are at high risk for, or showing early warning signs of a serious mental illness, such as hearing voices that no one else hears, seeing things that aren’t there, showing disorganized thinking, and becoming suspicious of others. These symptoms can be easily ignored if they are mild and don’t significantly interfere with functioning.

On the other hand, young people can be aware that they are experiencing brain changes and may feel they are “going crazy” but are afraid to tell someone.

MAY_Early Warning Signs

Anyone within the State of Maine can be referred to the MAY PIER Study.

If an adolescent or young adult seems to be dealing with the symptoms that signal the start of a serious mental illness, please make a referral to the study. The individual may qualify for a thorough assessment of their symptoms, with follow-up at six months as well as an optional referral for services.

Study participants are eligible for small stipends for their time.

For more information or to make a referral, please call (207) 662-3681

Adolescents or young adults (12-35) who experience a combination of some of the following difficulties that have begun or worsened in the past year can participate in the Study.

  • Worrisome drop in grades or work performance
  • Suspiciousness, fears, or uneasiness with others
  • Withdrawal from friends or family—spending a lot of time alone
  • Having trouble thinking clearly, focusing, or concentrating
  • Having ideas that others may find unusual or too intense
  • Decline in self-care or personal hygiene
  • Increased sensitivity to sights or sounds, or mistaking noise for voices or messages
  • Having strange feelings or no feelings at all
  • Feeling like your mind is playing tricks on you or that you are “going crazy”

These symptoms can start slowly, and come and go for a long time. Sometimes, the person can rationalize these early symptoms and doesn’t share the changes in thinking, feeling, and acting with anyone because they don’t cause much distress or interference with activities. In other words, the experiences are easy to ignore. Others may notice changes in the person’s behaviors, such as spending excessive time in his/her bedroom, complaining about noise or lighting in different environments, refusing invitations from close friends, asking to stay home from school, and showing a drop in school or work performance.

What’s Involved?

The first step is to participate in a screening interview that investigates the person’s specific experiences. The interview can last a couple of hours. In order to continue with the study, one must meet specific study qualifications that are explained at the screen interview

For Eligible Participants:

  • A comprehensive set of baseline assessments
  • One follow-up assessment at 6 months

Each Set of Assessments Includes:

  • Personal interviews to discuss your history and possible changes in your thinking, behavior, and feelings
  • Paper and pencil and computerized tests of your cognitive abilities, like attention and memory
  • Questions and computerized tasks exploring how you think and feel about different mental health experiences and people who have them

Payment

You can earn $75 for completing the initial screening and interviews. For the 6-month follow-up, you will earn $150 for completing all interviews and assessments.

Will I Receive Feedback?

If desired, study staff provides feedback to participants, their families, and with permission, to any service providers. During the assessment process, the study team evaluates each participant’s clinical status and makes recommendations and referrals for treatment when indicated.