PREP Program Director Betty Alban DeAngelis Fuses the Professional and Personal in New Role

As program director for ServiceNet’s Prevention and Recovery in Early Psychosis (PREP) Program, Betty Alban DeAngelis brings 16+ years of therapeutic experience to her role in leading a community of care for program participants.

ServiceNet’s PREP Program offers comprehensive outpatient treatment for young adults between the ages of 16 to 30 years old who have had an experience of psychosis within the previous three years.

 Several experiences are shared by many, but not all, people experiencing psychosis. The word psychosis often describes conditions that affect the mind, such as disorganized thoughts, cognitive changes, less emotion and speech, hallucinations, or delusions.

The PREP Program is especially innovative in the way it approaches treatment. The program offers group support, activities such as cooking and group meals, individual therapy, psychiatric services, vocational counseling, family and network meetings and support, and more.

Before joining ServiceNet, Betty, who is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, spent much of her career working in school-based settings. She also worked with primary care doctors and field offices at various Holyoke and Springfield health centers and has experience in trauma and crisis response and counseling.

Betty was drawn to the work at PREP because of how it merged so many of her professional interests, how dedicated and motivated the staff of the program was, and how the work serves as a blueprint for future programs.

Additionally, Betty recalls watching two important people in her life struggle with psychosis. She witnessed how little outpatient support there was and how much care and treatment fell on the family. For Betty, leading the team at PREP is a unique opportunity to help shape new models of treatment and support that significantly widens the net of support and offers more holistic treatment plans.

“The earlier you can catch psychosis, the more chances that that person can develop the coping skills needed,” Betty says. “Because for the rest of their lives, they will have some experiences with psychosis, but it’s ‘how can I live my life and manage the psychosis?’ that is so valuable. The earlier you treat, get help, understand, and have the insight into that psychosis, the better your chances for recovery and enjoying a higher quality of life.”

Since taking on the role in April, Betty has been deeply impressed by the dedication, creativity, and passion of the PREP staff, and the staff of ServiceNet as a whole.

“Part of what made me decide to take this role was meeting the team. They are an amazing group of people who really believe in the work they are doing,” Betty says. “One of the most meaningful experiences the staff and participants both talk about is simply preparing and eating meals together. You don’t see that in other mental health clinics. So many people are isolated and misunderstood. To provide participants with a space where they feel they belong is incredibly special. That’s just one of so many examples of why there is no other program like this around.”

PREP is fully funded by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health through a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grant.

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