CARE Program

A Program for Adolescents and Young Adults

Home For Families Other Studies Contact Us

Have you or someone you know experienced recent troublesome changes in behavior, thoughts, or emotions? If so, you may benefit from the UCSD CARE program. 

Director: Kristin Cadenhead, M.D.

Who We Are

How Could You Benefit?

Who We Are

The CARE research program is located at the University of California, San Diego, Medical Center. Its primary goal is to identify and assess adolescents and young adults who are experiencing changes in their thoughts, behavior or emotions that might be associated with developing serious and/or disabling mental problems.

Because it is not always clear what these changes mean, it is of primary importance to the CARE Program that we avoid stigmatizing or labeling the individual.

Early identification and intervention may help to delay or prevent the onset and decrease the severity of a serious mental illness.

Eligibility Criteria for CARE

Participants must be between the ages of 12 and 30 years. The CARE Program may be appropriate for individuals who have noticed recent changes in their behavior, thoughts or emotions, such as:

Hearing voices, seeing visions, experiencing strange sensations, or imagining things  
A change in perception of objects (things looking or sounding different)
Misinterpretation of events (feeling slightly suspicious about others at times)  
Developing a preoccupation with new, unusual beliefs, or ideas about mind control  
Behavior that is odd, eccentric, or strange  

Other symptoms that may be present:

Deterioration in school or work functioning 
Social withdrawal, isolation
Reduced concentration, attention
Sleep disturbance
Anxiety or irritability
Confused thinking


Individuals who have a close family member who has experienced an onset of schizophrenia or other psychosis and have had a recent deterioration in the ability to cope with life events and stressors (expressed as poor concentration, decreased motivation, withdrawal from family and friends, depression or anxiety), or development of low grade symptoms as noted above.

How Could You Benefit?

If you are not eligible or do not wish to participate in the CARE program, our staff offers a free referral service. The CARE program also offers services from which participants may benefit.


UCSD physicians who are experts in the study of serious mental disorders that affect adolescents and young adults staff the CARE program. All participants in the CARE program will receive a complete diagnostic evaluation and treatment recommendations.


The CARE program is supported by a research grant from the National Institutes of Health. The primary goal of the research is to identify risk factors for the later development of mental illness. All participants will be evaluated on a monthly basis using clinical assessments, as well as non-invasive cognitive and physiological measures.


Referrals to psychological and medical treatment are provided for anyone in the CARE program who is not already being treated by a mental health professional. Early intervention may help to delay the onset and development of mental illness, as well as decrease its severity and associated disability.


The CARE program provides an educational program with an emphasis on both individuals and families.

Case Management

Social Services are available to all participants in the program to assess needs and to help with access to community resources.

UCSD Official web page
Telephone: 619-543-7745
140 Arbor Drive, Fourth Floor - San Diego, California 92103
© 2007 UCSD CARE Program