Mental Health Counseling For Youth in Crisis

A new team is providing around-the-clock support for youth who are at risk of being hospitalized, suspended from school or contemplating suicide. The team is led by a New York social service agency called JCCA.

Many kids experience traumatic events and still do not become juvenile delinquents or drop out of school. They have a combination of protective factors that help them avoid negative environmental influences.

Inpatient Treatment

Residential treatment centers offer intensive, immersive mental health treatment for teens. They are typically based in dorm-like settings and provide round-the-clock medical and psychiatric care for a month or more. They are also expensive. Fortunately, many of the top insurance companies will cover these programs.

During an inpatient psychiatric stay, a teen’s focus is on safety and stability. Once they can return home without a risk of self-harm or harm to others, the psychiatric team will discharge them from inpatient care. In contrast, a teen’s stay in a residential treatment facility is often voluntary and based on a full evaluation by a professional. In addition to mental health therapy, a typical residential program includes therapeutic activities such as yoga, music, art and adventure therapy.

Outpatient Treatment

If a teen’s mental health symptoms are severe, they may be admitted to a hospital psychiatric unit. This allows for a full assessment by a psychiatric team, including a psychiatrist or Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner and a counselor.

Depending on their diagnosis and treatment plan, teens in crisis may then be transferred to a residential program or step down to a teen mental health clinic. Both options offer structured schedules of clinical care and experiential modalities such as art and music therapy, yoga and adventure therapy.

For adolescents who need a higher level of care than weekly individual outpatient counseling, a teen IOP can provide them with the structure they need to thrive while maintaining their home school and extracurricular schedules. Our therapists also work with teens to teach them skills to better manage their own crisis, increasing independence and self-reliance.

Individual Therapy

During individual therapy, teens will receive their counselor’s undivided attention. This can be particularly helpful for teens who may have difficulty opening up to others, such as their parents or siblings. Individual sessions also allow counselors to target specific concerns that a teen is having.

In addition to offering treatment, a crisis center can also offer support for the entire family. Creating safety plans, holding family therapy sessions and providing referrals for step-down care are all ways that a crisis center can help families heal together.

The Covid-19 pandemic has heightened the need for youth behavioral health services. The mayor’s plan includes investing in these services, including telehealth. This will ensure that youth have access to the services they need. The city is also launching a new program for young people who have had multiple hospitalizations and need emergency psychiatric services.

Group Therapy

Group therapy can be free-form or structured with an agenda and planned activities. The therapist provides guidance and facilitation to encourage participation. The therapist also helps the participants understand how their past experiences and current choices impact them.

The participants in a group are typically at different stages of their treatment, so seeing others successfully deal with challenges can provide hope and motivation for those who are struggling. In addition, the therapist can observe how the group members interact with one another and use this information to develop individual counseling plans.

The group setting teaches interpersonal skills and builds confidence. Students will learn to speak up for themselves, set boundaries, and build healthy relationships. A critical rule is maintaining confidentiality. This can be enforced by requiring the participants to sign confidentiality agreements and/or limit use of first names or initials.

Family Therapy

Family therapy is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on improving the systems of interactions between family members. A therapist who is trained in family therapy may use it to address a variety of issues, including relationship distress, eating disorders, depression, and conduct problems.

Our youth and family services programs offer family counseling, home based crisis intervention, therapeutic mentoring and support for survivors of trauma. They are designed to prevent out of home placement, such as psychiatric hospitalization or emergency department visits.

Thrive Behavioral Health uses the national FFT evidence-based model for in-home family counseling that addresses truancy, curfew violations and running away behavior from a relational, family system perspective. It assesses risk and protective factors, modifies strained family communication, and improves parenting skills.