CHC Launches Mental Health Initiative for Teens

Expands Affordable Teen Therapy, Community Education and Engagement

PALO ALTO, Calif.--()--Children’s Health Council (CHC) today launches the CHC Teen Mental Health Initiative, focused on teen anxiety, depression and suicide. The CHC Teen Mental Health Initiative is an integrated program of community engagement, mental health education and affordable teen therapy, all aimed at preventing teen suicides and increasing the mental wellness of teens. The CHC Teen Mental Health Initiative will include comprehensive mental health education for parents, teens and schools to raise awareness of mental health issues, remove the stigma around discussing them, and educate the community about signs and symptoms of anxiety, depression and suicide for earlier identification and intervention. CHC is expanding its affordable teen therapy offerings to include individual, family and group therapy, as well as psychiatry services specializing in the needs of adolescents. CHC is also exploring innovative teen-friendly approaches to therapy that include peer-to-peer counseling and virtual approaches like a Teen Advice Line and email and text support. Additionally, CHC will engage and unite multiple community partners and groups, including teens, to develop actionable solutions aimed at suicide prevention and mental health interventions to ultimately foster healthy, resilient teens.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Adolescent Health, one in five adolescents has a diagnosable mental disorder such as depression and/or anxiety disorders, yet less than half of these adolescents received any kind of treatment in the last year. Mental health disorders can disrupt school performance, harm relationships, and can even lead to suicide (the second leading cause of death among adolescents). Effective treatments for mental health disorders, especially if they begin soon after symptoms appear, can help reduce the impact on an adolescent’s life.

“We feel a very strong calling to do our part to address the significant teen anxiety, depression and suicide that is affecting our local communities,” said Rosalie Whitlock, PhD, Executive Director at CHC. “Many of us live in this community or have raised kids here, so it is our personal call to action as well as a professional one to open our doors and serve more teens and families in the community in a very actionable way.”

“Sadly, many teens who struggle with anxiety or depression, and who are at risk for attempting suicide never receive the treatment they need in large part because of stigma, lack of access to care, or lack of knowledge about their symptoms,” said Ramsey Khasho, PsyD, Director of The Center at CHC. "CHC’s Teen Mental Health Initiative is focused on removing these barriers so those who need help can receive early diagnosis and treatment utilizing a very community-based approach to prevention and early intervention.”

Stigma and Lack of Knowledge

Central to CHC’s Teen Mental Health Initiative is education. As a leading community educator in mental health issues, CHC is developing a comprehensive program of education in collaboration with schools and community experts, as well as local teens, parents and educators. The classes, available in English and Spanish, will be suitable for parents, teachers and teens, and will address a variety of mental health topics in a very practical, relevant and action-oriented way. “We truly believe that every young person and their family has the right and the need to learn about mental health,” stated Dr. Khasho. “We believe that mental health education is just as important and necessary as other valuable concepts of human development such as sex education.” CHC believes that education about mental health and encouraging conversations amongst teens and adults in the local community will help reduce stigma and encourage more opportunities to connect to the appropriate services when needed. CHC will also feature a series of classes and panels on teen anxiety, depression and suicide as part of the 2016-2017 season of its Community Education program which has seen over 3000 participants in the last year alone.

Access to Affordable Teen Therapy

Another cornerstone of the CHC Teen Mental Health Initiative is CHC’s expansion of affordable teen therapy, and open connections to additional resources in the community. CHC has dedicated a team of experienced therapists, licensed psychologists and psychiatrists who specialize in working with teens to provide expanded clinical outpatient services geared toward adolescent needs. The team will offer services that include individual therapy, family therapy, group therapy, peer-to-peer counseling and medication assessment and monitoring. Future plans include the addition of an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) onsite at CHC, a Teen Advice Line, virtual therapy and other options to increase accessibility. To make services more affordable for families where cost is a barrier, CHC is offering a sliding scale and is actively fundraising to help offset some of these costs of services. CHC also offers a free 30 minute Care Consultation option as a way for families to get started. 650.688.3625 or help@chconline.org.

Community Leadership and Engagement

CHC’s goal is to unite and mobilize the community and collaboratively develop actionable solutions. CHC and Stanford will lead the effort to engage partners to leverage complimentary resources, and create a web of support that accurately and adequately captures the needs of teen mental health in the community. "It's so important that CHC, with its strong clinical and education programs, is expanding to ensure the well-being of our most vulnerable youth. We share their belief in the importance and value of collaborating and are glad to be a part of this effort. Project Safety Net (PSN) looks forward to building upon this momentum and to engage with CHC at all levels of PSN's work," explains Mary Gloner, Executive Director of Project Safety Net.

CHC and Stanford plan to lead and engage the community in some of the following ways:

  • Convene a community-wide and multi-constituent team on a regular basis to drive community based efforts and accountability to action on teen mental health including break-out task groups.
  • Develop a yearly symposium on teen mental health and wellness for teens, parents, educators and professionals to bring people together and develop cohesive, community-based education.
  • Partner with like-minded community engagement task forces such as Project Safety Net and Partnering for Healthy Minds to ensure consistent messaging and communication about community progress, resources and goals.

Additional information

In addition to CHC’s award-winning education and mental healthcare services, CHC has long been a community resource. In February, CHC dedicated its 3rd annual CHC Breakfast to teen anxiety and depression in our community and what we can do about it. Over the next year CHC will continue to bring the community together through expert panels, breakfast meetings and other events to shine the light on the different needs of teens. The next CHC Breakfast, scheduled for March 2017, will highlight CHC‘s Teen Mental Health Initiative and feature guest speaker Nancy Lublin, founder of the acclaimed Crisis Text Line, the 24-hour crisis intervention service delivered via text. CHC is also convening a Teen Mental Health Committee, made up of local teens who want to raise issues about teen anxiety and use their voices to implement change in the community. Ongoing developments and details about the CHC Teen Mental Health Initiative may be found at www.chconline.org. To schedule an appointment for services call 650.688.3625 or email help@chconline.org.

About Children’s Health Council

CHC is a nonprofit agency that has been serving children, youth and teens in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties as well as the greater San Francisco Bay Area for nearly 65 years. The CHC Teen Mental Health Initiative expands affordable teen therapy, mental health education, and community leadership and engagement directly, and through community collaborations, to help reduce teen anxiety and depression, and prevent teen suicide. The goal of the agency is to remove barriers to learning regardless of language, location, learning style or ability to pay. The agency specializes in ADHD, Learning Differences, Anxiety & Depression and Autism with a Center, two schools, Community Clinic and Community Education. www.chconline.org

Contacts

Media Contact:
Children’s Health Council
Micaelia Randolph, 707-933-7332
mrandolph@chconline.org
or
Yvonne Wolters, 650-867-7929
gbheron@mac.com

Release Summary

Following suicide clusters among Palo Alto, Calif. adolescents, CHC expands affordable teen therapy and education to prevent teen suicides and increase mental health of teens

Contacts

Media Contact:
Children’s Health Council
Micaelia Randolph, 707-933-7332
mrandolph@chconline.org
or
Yvonne Wolters, 650-867-7929
gbheron@mac.com