The onset at a young age of potential prodromal psychotic symptoms, the necessity to use appropriate assessment programs to detect and identify symptoms in a non-stigmatizing setting, and also the need to provide truly supportive and therapeutic interventions, are focal issues currently discussed within the international scientific community. The authors summon up 15 years of experience in a centre for early detection and intervention of mental illness, centre specifically designed for the treatment of first-episode psychosis (FEP) and of cases with ultra-high risk (UHR) of developing psychosis ("Programma 2000" in Milan). The authors then present some practical ideas on how mental health services can respond to a younger population’s needs. The conviction that early detection may help to prevent the transition to psychosis, or at least may reduce the severity of the disease, supports the hope that the future of many young people may be improved. The health personnel of such services must be highly motivated, interested and curious, and express as well a clear desire to experience in the workplace evidence based innovations.
Keywords: Ultra high psychotic risk, early detection, UHR treatment, prevention.