CHC Launches Mental Health Initiative for Teens

Expands Affordable Teen Therapy, Community Education and Engagement

PALO ALTO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#adolescents–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