Each youth has a hidden strength. A talent, a niche, an asset which helps them succeed in life. It can be their academic achievement. Their ability to draw, write poetry, or dance. The power of communicating and listening. Each youth has an inner belief how they make their mark in life. Whether it’s as a father or mother. A musician. A mechanic. An architect. Someone who helps others.
At the new Hidden Strength’s intensive outpatient treatment program (IOP), we base our philosophy on these needs of the youth. A youth’s drive toward independence from being a teenager to self-determination as an adult. The discovery of their identity. Who they are as a person, in their family, and the community.
When youths are faced with emotional and behavioral problems, it can affect their homelife. Their school. Their interactions in the community. Being adolescents, they’re faced with the tasks of developing new relationships. Higher emotional intensity. Bursts of creativity. And the desire to try new things. Often these situations lead to high-risk behavior. Self-destructive actions. In addition to pre-existing mental health challenges, youths put themselves in harmful positions. And two key elements emerge from their difficulties: the desire to become independent and develop their identity.
The Hidden Strength IOP does more than the usual adolescent treatment program. We provide the basics of therapy, for the youth and their family. When a youth needs medications, our psychiatrist evaluates them to determine if they can benefit. Our staff is trained in such treatment modalities as Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy. We have extensive experience with mood and thought conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder. Plus situations affecting youth such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorders, and intermittent explosive disorders. Our brief approach allows youths to receive services and complete the program between one to two months, depending upon their individual needs. Our staff has expertise with preventing suicides, dealing with youth experiencing bullying or trauma, and those affected by substance use.
Our program uses the new YRAXES model (Youth Reach Achieve and eXcel through Empowerment Strategies) which helps youths reduce their stress and improve their behaviors. To proactively solve their concerns before they become problems. And with it is a companion piece which helps parents improve their wellbeing. Life skills which also forge the youth’s identity. Because not only does the youth need to manage their emotions and behaviors; they all need the independent skills which help them advance to adulthood. Finding housing. A trade, job, or education. Developing relationships. Reducing the “boomerang effect” that so many youths find when they venture out on their own.
Family treatment is crucial to the treatment. For without the family members participating, the changes made by the youth are only one piece of the puzzle. The family receives education about the youth’s mental health condition, their needs, and how the family can reintegrate the youth into their system. And it’s also about respecting the cultural needs of the family. To discuss mental health in an informative manner, helping to remove the stigma of mental illness.
Hidden Strength uses peer advocates to work with the youths. These individuals have had their own lived experiences with mental health challenges and are able to relate to the struggles the youth is having. In addition, adult mentors are available to be resources and supports during and after the program for youths to continue having someone to talk to.
What makes us different is what we do to help the youth succeed after the program is over. While therapy benefits the youth and family, the youth’s ability to foster their skills to achieve adulthood create a long-term plan towards success. Our aftercare component helps youth have resources and support available when they leave. Follow-ups, support groups, and mentoring give the youth the tools to be successful.