A new partnership with Stanford Children's Health will allow youth mental health nonprofit Children's Health Council to double the capacity of its teen intensive outpatient program.
The two organizations announced the partnership this week, a little over a year after Children's Health Council opened Palo Alto's first intensive outpatient program for adolescents from 14 to 18 years old who are struggling with self-harm, suicidal thoughts and behaviors, severe anxiety and depression.
The outpatient program "covers the often overlooked but essential middle ground between weekly outpatient therapy and hospitalization, and provides transition support between the two," an announcement states.
With more staff, CHC Chief Clinical Officer Ramsey Khasho said they hope to expand from serving eight young people at any time to 16 within the next year. The program has served 50 teens since its opening, Khasho said. In a "year in review" document published earlier this year, he wrote that "the number of requests for the IOP far outweighs the number of teens CHC can serve."
Michele Berk, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the Stanford University School of Medicine, is now serving as co-lead for the intensive outpatient program. She brings a wealth of research experience in dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), an evidence-based, specialized intervention for individuals with suicidal and/or self-harm behaviors.
Berk co-authored a recent study that found that dialectical behavioral therapy was more effective than supportive therapy at decreasing rates of suicide attempts and self-harm behaviors.
Stephanie Clarke, a Stanford Children's Health clinical instructor who specializes in dialectical behavior therapy, started in May as one of the program's primary clinicians.
Through the new partnership, Stanford will be conducting research on the effectiveness of dialectical behavioral therapy provided in an intensive outpatient setting in comparison to the standard outpatient format.
The 12-week program includes individual therapy, twice-weekly "skills" meetings with parents or guardians, phone skills coaching and family therapy. Teens learn about mindfulness, distress tolerance and emotional regulation, while their parents come in to develop skills to support their children at home.
Teens attend the program four days per week after school so that they can "continue their normal school routines," CHC said. Medication management and 24/7 phone coaching are also available to teens throughout the program.
Teens who will benefit most from the intensive outpatient program include adolescents with significant decrease in functioning at school and at home, such as a decline in grades or missing school; those for whom weekly or biweekly outpatient therapy is not effective for reducing self-harm and suicide risk; and those who are having difficulty coping with and managing their emotions, leading to unhealthy behavior, CHC said.
"Through CHC's experience in the development and implementation of intensive mental health and academic programs and Stanford's expertise in conducting research and providing care for adolescents with suicidal behavior, this program can be transformative for local adolescents who are in need of this level of care," said Antonio Hardan, chief of child and adolescent psychiatry at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford.
Stanford's Children Health had announced plans in 2016 to open an intensive outpatient program for teens, but later decided to instead partner with Children's Health Council "in order to reduce duplication in services and to join forces to create one large IOP program that can serve the maximum number of adolescents effectively," said Samantha Beal, public relations director for Stanford Children's Health.
The program is now named RISE, which stands for Reaching Interpersonal and Self Effectiveness — "one of the primary goals of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and a cornerstone of the program," CHC said in an announcement.
Teens who participated the program came up with the new name.
For more information or to refer a teen, call 650-688-3625 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Financial assistance is available.
Any person who is feeling depressed, troubled or suicidal can also call 1-800-784-2433 to speak with a crisis counselor. People in Santa Clara County can call 1-855-278-4204. Spanish speakers can call 1-888-628-9454.
People can reach trained counselors at Crisis Text Line by texting 741741.
Additional resources can be found here.