Center of Prevention and Evaluation (COPE)

Geometric brain in blue shades

The Center of Prevention and Evaluation (COPE) is an outpatient research program for teenagers and young adults (ages 14-30) experiencing changes in thoughts and feelings that have led to problems in relationships, school, or work. Our research focuses on the causes and course of these symptoms. Individualized treatment (medication management/consultation and psychotherapy/counseling) may be provided depending on availability.

COPE was developed to provide a setting for the evaluation and treatment of prodromal or high-risk symptoms. These are symptoms which develop relatively early in life (from childhood to young adulthood) and which resemble symptoms found in some psychiatric disorders but occur in individuals who do not have a definite psychiatric illness. In some individuals, these symptoms may represent the early stages of a disorder which will develop over time, while in others the symptoms seem to fade with time or remain mild, and no psychiatric illness develops.

We are located at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) / New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI) in New York City.

Examples of high-risk symptoms include:

  • Feeling like things are unreal 
  • Ideas or preoccupations others find difficult to understand 
  • Changes in perception (e.g., hearing or seeing things others do not) 
  • Feeling suspicious or mistrustful of others 
  • Withdrawing from friends and family 
  • Problems in school or at work 
  • Loss of interest or lack of motivation 
  • Changes in sleeping or eating patterns 
  • Decreased concern with appearance or clothes 
  • Confusion, trouble thinking clearly 
  • Changes in personality