Center of Prevention and Evaluation (COPE)


The Center of Prevention and Evaluation (COPE) is an outpatient research program for teenagers and young adults 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 is provided. 

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. 


In this video, Dr. Brucato discusses the COPE Clinic and signs of potential high-risk symptoms

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 

COPE has three primary goals, reflecting our dual focus on research and clinical treatment:

  • Understanding the nature of prodromal and high-risk symptoms, including how they change over time and relationships between different symptoms
  • Detailing the relationships between prodromal and high-risk symptoms and a variety of clinical and biological features, such as family history, substance use or abuse, stressful life events, and the structure and function of the brain
  • Clarifying whether specific prodromal and high-risk symptoms or patterns can help us predict which individuals with prodromal symptoms will eventually develop a full disorder

We believe that this work will help in the development of more specific and targeted treatments to reduce high-risk symptoms and to prevent the development of psychiatric disorders in those individuals at highest risk. 

While working to understand the meaning of high-risk symptoms, the clinicians at COPE (psychiatrists and psychologists) will provide a range of treatment options for individuals who are appropriate for and desiring of treatment. Depending upon individual need, these can include: 

  • Individual psychotherapy
  • Family support and education
  • Medication treatment

We recognize that changes in thoughts and feelings can be very confusing and even frightening. Our research clinic provides an opportunity for young people and their families to discuss these problems with mental health professionals and learn how to handle these upsetting changes. 

Brief clinical therapy, evaluations, and medical consultations are provided free of charge for participants in research.

All services are confidential.


Call (646) 774-5232 for more information about the clinic and to schedule an evaluation. We may ask about your interest in the program, and problems for which you are seeking help.

Contact Us  

Center of Prevention and Evaluation (COPE) 
New York State Psychiatric Institute 
1051 Riverside Drive 
First Floor, Suite 1715 
Sixth Floor, Office 6114 
New York, NY 10032 
United States