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About Kickstart

Assessing Risk for Mental Illness in Teens and Young Adults

Kickstart is a diverse clinical team specially trained to educate the community, treat youth and assist families in preventing psychosis. We serve young people ages 10 to 25, their families, and their social networks to build support around the youth and promote success in relationships, education and employment. Kickstart is a Prevention and Early Intervention program funded through San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency and the Mental Health Services Act.  Kickstart is a recovery oriented program that strives to keep hope alive through education and early intervention.

Watch the Kickstart Outreach Video, which provide a summary of the program and the issues it helps to manage.

Who We Are

The Kickstart team consists of mental health professionals trained to assess and treat youth experiencing early warning signs of psychosis.

Our team will:

  • Educate community members who will help identify young people who are showing early warning signs of psychosis

  • Conduct confidential assessments specifically designed to identify risk for actual psychosis

  • Provide individualized treatment for participants and their families

Collaborating with the Community
Research has shown that educating the public and community leaders will significantly increase the chances that a young person will receive early treatment that can reverse the negative effects of psychosis. Kickstart actively outreaches to the communities of San Diego to help reduce misunderstandings about serious mental illness and provide information about early identification and treatment. Community members who are most likely to help identify these youth include staff at secondary schools, colleges, nurses, physicians, military leaders, spiritual leaders, police, mental health professionals and community centers.

Who We Serve

Kickstart provides confidential assessment and early assistance for young people between the ages of 10 and 25 who are at risk for mental illness in San Diego County.

The following symptoms are behaviors or feelings that can indicate a temporary reaction to significant stressors, or they can be early signs of a developing psychotic illness.  If the youth presents a combination of symptoms, or the symptoms appear to worsen over time, this may indicate the onset of a mental illness. Symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty in maintaining focus, concentration or memory

  • Hearing sounds or voices, seeing visions, or experiencing strange sensations that others don’t perceive

  • Difficulty with conversations or being understood

  • Feeling overly fearful or suspicious

  • Changes in sensitivity to light sound or touch; decreased sense of smell

  • Dramatic changes in behaviors, ideas, sleep or appetite

  • Withdrawal from friends and family

  • Deterioration in school or work functioning

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