CHC in the Press: Children’s Health Council Launches Intensive Outpatient Program
The Children’s Health Council (CHC) launched its first Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) on May 8, marking a pivotal point in expanding local teen mental health services. The program will address the needs of high school teens ages 14 to 18 who show signs of significant anxiety, depression or suicidal thoughts.
According to CHC Head of Adolescent Mental Health services and adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Lynette Hsu, the IOP will offer a higher level of care, suitable as a middle ground treatment for patients transitioning to different levels of care. Patients going from more intense levels of care such as residential treatment or hospitalization will have an easier transition to regular outpatient work. The IOP also helps adolescents whose symptoms have not greatly improved from weekly outpatient care. “Patients may be having difficulty getting better or having their symptoms significantly reduced with just regular outpatient care, so the IOP is great if they need a step up [in the] level of care,” Hsu said.
The IOP will accommodate up to eight teens at a time and be offered on a rolling basis. According to Hsu, this intimate, small-group setting effectively fosters stronger relationships between patients and their mental health providers. The program will run for 12 weeks, four times a week from 3 to 6:15 p.m., enabling teens to keep their daily routines as normal as possible.
While it is not mandatory for patients to disclose their participation in the program with their respective schools, the strenuous time commitment may result in scheduling conflicts. However, mental health providers are sworn to confidentiality by law and will only share information with the permission of the patients. This is where communication plays a key role in the success of overall improvement, according to Hsu. “We would encourage communication with schools because people get better when they receive support from more than one area in their life,” she said. “School is such a big part in a teenager’s life and it’s a lot of time to be in a program, so the school could make accommodations to make it more accessible for teenagers to be in such an intensive program.”
Contact CHC’s Intensive Outpatient Program: