New teen program addresses complex mood disorders

Rosecrance has enhanced the programming and clinical competencies at our teen residential campus to provide deeper resources for clients with mood disorders, especially those with chronic depression and a history of suicidality.

We recognized the need for more specialization to address the needs of youth who have experienced multiple acute hospitalizations, and for whom outpatient and other treatment have not been successful.

This intensive 45-to-60-day program at the Rosecrance Griffin Williamson Campus features deeper psychiatric involvement, increased emphasis on dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) in both individual and group therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) interventions around self-harming behaviors, and weekly family therapy. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for treatment-resistant depression is also available when medically appropriate.

These services help address the complex behavioral health challenges of adolescent clients seeking help. Rosecrance is seeing more children who are struggling with depression, anxiety, self-harming, and emotional regulation, said Denita Lynde, LCPC, CADC, administrator of residential services at the Rosecrance Griffin Williamson Campus.

“Kids are still dealing with the trauma of the pandemic—the social isolation and then struggling being back in school and managing their emotions in that environment,” Lynde said.

“Whether they’re trying to hurt themselves or use substances to cope, it’s all about emotional regulation and teaching them to stay in the moment so they can help themselves feel better with the skills they have.”

Rosecrance completed intensive DBT training with staff before launching the program. Lynde said DBT emphasizes a nonjudgmental approach to treatment focused on validating clients and their experiences, shifting then to education about emotional regulation.

The new program includes a skills teaching group three times weekly and daily mood monitoring for clients through logs, diary cards, and mood rating scales. Clients log if they feel anxiety, depression, anger, urges to use substances, etc., and anything additional brought up by those feelings.

“If they experience distress, we work with them on developing coping skills and problem-solving plans,” Lynde said. “We’re teaching them a way to manage and work through their distress without going back to unhealthy habits. That builds them up for success as they move through the continuum of care and continue to address these issues.”

In its first few months, the program is seeing more girls, but also many boys navigating similar challenges. Lynde shared the story of a teen female client with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders and a history of trauma and self-injury who successfully transitioned to sober living housing after completing the program to stay engaged in her recovery.

Lynde also said the team will pursue more extensive, advanced DBT training in the coming months.