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Less than twelve hours earlier, the 42-year-old Du Brul had been reliving his youth, stage diving into a packed crowd in Brooklyn’s Warsaw Ballroom.His old band, Choking Victim, had reunited for a rare performance.

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He added his own caption: “No one at the office has any idea.” Then, he closed his laptop, and with fifteen minutes to spare, left his apartment and headed to work at Columbia University’s Medical Center.

Du Brul is part of a small team of clinicians who are bringing a specialized model of care for adolescent and young adult psychosis patients to the New York State Psychiatric Institute’s state-of-the-art facility on Columbia’s campus, a stone’s throw from the Hudson River.

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Sascha Du Brul is not your typical clinician: he’s been institutionalized multiple times and is best known as the bassist of Choking Victim.

He was 37 when he finally completed his bachelor’s degree.

But NYSPI did not bring Du Brul aboard for clinical expertise.

Rather, they hired him because he has experienced the system from the inside, as a patient.

He’s a peer specialist, and his job is to train other peer specialists who will work directly with these young folks who have just experienced their first episode of psychosis. * * * hen Du Brul was eighteen, living with his mother on Upper West Side, he became convinced that microscopic transmitters had been embedded under his skin, and that his every move was being broadcast on live television.

“Early intervention can save lives,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo, “and with this funding we’re going to be able to reach more young adults battling mental illness and put them on the path toward comprehensive treatment.” Many believe this type of innovative approach to mental healthcare can be a blueprint for hospitals and clinics across the country.

This is why Du Brul was so proud to join the Psychiatric Institute last year, although, as he readily admits, he was an unlikely hire.

He hadn’t slept for what felt like months when, late one evening, he began pacing his bedroom, sifting through old family photographs and digging up childhood toys.

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