On hiatus but soon to be restarted, a program that began at Maine Medical Center has led the way toward early detection and treatment of schizophrenia.
BY JOE LAWLOR STAFF WRITER
When Tiffany Martinez goes to work at her new job in downtown Portland, she counsels mental health clients and prescribes medicine to treat hallucinations, major depression or other severe symptoms of mental illnesses. But while Martinez is making it as a young professional in Maine’s largest city – her fourth-floor office overlooks Monument Square – she said every day she realizes what could have been. Martinez, who previously was at risk for developing a severe mental illness, was part of a groundbreaking mental health program started at Portland’s Maine Medical Center that’s now being replicated in several states.
Martinez, 27, is a psychiatric nurse practitioner, but had she not received help at an opportune time, she said, she could now be suffering from acute schizophrenia or another illness, unable to hold down a good job or live a normal life.