About NATSAP

The National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) represents a variety of programs and schools providing treatment to over 4,600 clients across North America. Our members include therapeutic schools, residential treatment schools, wilderness programs, outdoor therapeutic programs, young adult programs and home-based residential programs working with troubled teens and troubled adolescents. Our programs are dedicated to providing the highest quality services to the people and families they serve.

Guiding the Way

NATS_Logo_FullYou might have noticed that things look a little different with NATSAP these days. As we approach our 20 year anniversary, the NATSAP Board undertook a rebranding project where they reviewed where NATSAP has been and where it is heading. Over a series of meetings with our Board, Outsource Marketing, and our Public Relations Rebranding Subcommittee, we have crafted a new message and look for NATSAP. Although Supporting Programs, Healing Families is still at the core of what we do, we are also Guiding The Way.

If the category of Therapeutic Schools and Programs were a wheel, NATSAP would be the hub, and its members the spokes. NATSAP guides the entire category (members, families, youth) by “turning” toward advocacy, standards, innovation, and growth.

NATSAP is the friend you turn to when you have a difficult problem; the mentor you meet with for advice; the boss you look to for standards; the advocate you trust to represent your cause; the resource you look to for networking and opportunities.

 

Who we are and who we’re for

NATSAP is an association of therapeutic schools and programs assisting youth and young adults with emotional and behavioral difficulties.

How we’re different

Through its conferences, legislation efforts, online directory, and research, NATSAP serves members as a guide for growth, and helps parents navigate the rough waters of adolescent mental health and disabilities.

Why that matters

Members are given support and guidance; parents, resources and options; and youth and young adults, hope and renewed life.

As we unveil our new logo, our new tag line, and (in the next few months) our new website, we invite you to join us in Guiding The Way for members, families, and youth that we serve.

 

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How Does Screen Time Affect Kids’ Mental Health?

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The National Institute of Health estimates that kids spend an average of five to seven hours a day using screens for entertainment, which is equal to or even greater than the total time spent in the classroom. This has increased two and a half hours a day from just 10 years ago.

Surveys are showing that they also face more anxiety, depression, and other mental health struggles than previous generations. There are a number of factors thought to be contributing to this, but screen time is a major one, according to Peggy Scallon, MD, medical director of the FOCUS Adolescent Mood Disorders program in Oconomowoc.

“There are huge implications for youth,” Dr. Scallon says. “What are they not doing when they’re on screens? What experiences are they missing out on?”

The distractions of the screen mean less time for homework, physical activity, family interactions, and face-to-face time with peers. Without these necessary social interactions, kids are growing up unprepared and unable to cope—sometimes creating an unhealthy environment for their mental well-being.

“We know that anxiety and depression are correlated with high levels of screen time,” Dr. Scallon says.

The content on the screen matters just as much as the amount of time spent on them. Teens grow up looking at airbrushed models on Instagram or seeing friends doing something fun without them. Dr. Scallon warns that some then perceive their own life as unglamorous in comparison.

Bullying is another issue, which has changed significantly since parents themselves were kids.

“Kids may be bullied while sitting on the couch next to their parents who may not even know it, and the kids can’t escape it,” Dr. Scallon says. “They carry these phones with them 24/7, so they are experiencing near-constant social scrutiny.”

Gaming addiction and screen time

Around 91% of kids growing up today play video games. Dr. Scallon says that kids who spend too much time playing games, at the detriment of other activities, can also show signs of addiction.

“These games are very compelling for kids, and they often engage in gaming at the expense of other activities.” Dr. Scallon says. “And when kids use screens excessively, it can lead to anxiety, depression, family conflict, or another mental health disorder.”

As explained in an earlier blog with Dr. Heather Jones, supervising psychologist for Rogers’ FOCUS Adolescent Mood Disorders program, kids can create a cycle of avoidance by using games, TV, or phones to avoid dealing with the challenges of anxiety, depression, or another mental health disorder.

“In the short term, I might be distracted by the games, but this leads to increased feelings of depression in the long term because I’ve sat around all day without getting anything productive done,” Dr. Jones explains.

How Rogers handles screen time with kids

When a child or teen comes into one of Rogers’ residential programs, one of the big adjustments for them is getting used to much less screen time. It doesn’t always go over well at first, but Dr. Scallon says that this soon changes. “They will tell us openly ‘I feel so much better without having my phone,’” she explains.

When spending too much time with screens is the issue, it can be difficult coming up with a plan to reintegrate the electronics after treatment. Rogers asks parents to set limits on device use, remove certain devices from the house, and to lead by example.

Dr. Scallon adds, “It’s absolutely important for parents to model good behavior and etiquette for screens and devices, to limit their use, and to prioritize their relationship with their child. One of our biggest challenges in planning for discharge is working with kids and parents to limit and monitor the use of screen time in order to maintain health and wellbeing.”

Rogers treats children and adolescents struggling with mental health disorders including depression and mood disorders, eating disorders, OCD and anxiety, and addiction; in addition to a unique program that addresses mental health concerns for kids with autism spectrum disorder.

 

NATSAP Call for Papers and Event Annoucement!

NATSAP is looking for submissions for Call for Papers for the below conferences!  If you are interested in submitting for one or all of the upcoming conferences, please click on the appropriate link to get more information and to access the Call for Papers application.   The deadlines are quickly approaching, so submit today!

2018 Northeast Regional Conference – submission deadline August 17th 

2019 Annual Conference – submission deadline extended to August 17th

2019 Southeast Regional Conference – submission deadline August 31st


Registration is open for the Midwest Regional Conference – register today!

Program for Kids and Teens with Autism Treats Accompanying OCD, Anxiety, Depression

Diablo KidsParenting a child with autism can often be more challenging because of symptoms that are not actually part of autism spectrum disorder.

Rogers Behavioral Health provides a program for kids on the spectrum that treats secondary symptoms associated with anxiety, OCD, depression and other mood disorders with the goal of improving overall quality of life.

Dr. Marty Franklin, PhD, explains, “Using cognitive behavior therapy in a sensitive way can be effective as we address thinking errors, inflexibility in thoughts, and social communication deficits. We can help these kids learn to sit with unwanted thoughts and help them understand and tolerate emotions.”

Using gradual exposures as part of CBT can help make an extreme fear of a light switch, a death germ, or even the color yellow more manageable. Therapists can also work on compulsions for hand washing or the need for constant reassurance. The child may still have repetitive behaviors as part of ASD, but the anxiety around the behaviors can be lessened, according to Dr. Franklin.

Another component of the program is providing support and education for parents. One mom shares that she’s now better equipped to parent her son on a daily basis. “I really felt empowered, and now understand when I can demand more from our son and how to teach him more independence. I’m no longer afraid of disciplining,” she says.

“The therapists were unbelievably knowledgeable, and it was amazing how they worked on exposures. They do an incredible job,” the mother adds.

>>Learn about the four aspects of Rogers’ program for children and adolescents with ASD and other mental health disorders by watching a short video interview with Dr. Franklin.

Rogers’ program for anxiety and mood disorders for those with ASD is offered in Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco East Bay, and Tampa.

 

 

We are looking for submissions for Call

We are looking for submissions for Call for Papers for the below conferences! If you are interested in submitting for one or all of the upcoming conferences, please click on the appropriate link to get more information and to access the Call for Papers application. The deadlines are quickly approaching, so submit today!

2018 Midwest Regional Conference – submission deadline July 31st
2018 Northeast Regional Conference – submission deadline August 17th
2019 Annual Conference – submission deadline extended to August 17th

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Died by Suicide

According to a June 2018 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., yet social stigmas and inadequate research funding persist.

The CDC report found that suicide rates rose 30 percent since 1999 in half of all states. Additionally, according to the report more than half of the 45,000 people who died by suicide in 2016 had no known or diagnosed mental health condition. Although that doesn’t mean that the individual wasn’t suffering from mental health issues–just that they were undiagnosed or those around them were unaware of these health issues.

Ironically, the new CDC report was released around the time we learned of the untimely suicides of fashion icon, Kate Spade, and celebrity chef, Anthony Bourdain. And as NATSAP members know all too well, suicide or suicide risk doesn’t just affect adults — adolescents and young people are often at risk and may have poorer coping skills than adults.

While the report points to family problems, poor physical health, shaky finances or legal stress as factors that may contribute to an individual taking their life, unfortunately, there’s not a single factor that can be isolated as the “cause.” Rather, it is often a combination of factors.

In some cases that involve young people, including the Sandy Hook school shooting, the parents try to get help, but find that the public mental health facilities are full. In these cases, the parent may take the child home and wait for a space, unaware of where else to turn. Unfortunately, in some cases the young person acts out before they are able to get help.

In these cases, NATSAP member programs may provide a more immediate solution. NATSAP members include therapeutic boarding schools, day treatment programs, residential treatment programs, wilderness therapy programs, young adult programs, and home-based residential programs that may offer an alternative solution to parents seeking help for their children facing a wide variety of mental health issues.

While NATSAP does not provide placement services, it does provide an online search tool of NATSAP members and require its members to adhere to specific policies, guidelines and outcomes assuring parents and families that their children are in facilities committed to help their children. For more information, go to www.natsap.org.”

For more information about CDC’s Preventing Suicide: A Technical Package of Policy. Programs, and Practices, click here https://bit.ly/2AnZWRU.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spotlight: Hillside Becomes the First Residential Treatment Program to be Certified by the DBT-Linehan Board of Certification

Hillside® is honored to be the first child and adolescent residential treatment facility awarded the highly coveted and professionally respected DBT-Linehan Board of Certification, Certified Program™ (dbt-lbc.org). The DBT-Linehan Board of Certification is an international organization devoted to ensuring programs and individuals offering Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) meet rigorous standards and demonstrate adherence to this evidence-based treatment model. Program certification confirms Hillside’s commitment to provide DBT effectively and with fidelity as developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan and colleagues.

 

In its 130th year of service, Hillside is one of Atlanta’s oldest not-for-profit organizations dedicated to the mission of helping children and families thrive by providing outstanding residential and community mental health services. From its main campus in Midtown, professional trainings and a full continuum of mental health services are offered to meet varying levels of clinical needs, spanning from outpatient therapy, community based services, and residential treatment for children, adolescents, and their families.  Hillside specializes in using DBT to treat clients who struggle with anxiety and mood disorders such as general anxiety disorder, major depressive disorders, disrupted mood dysregulation disorder and more. DBT is proven effective in helping clients who struggle with unmanageable and intense emotions as well as ineffective communication and coping behaviors. Hillside’s adherence to the DBT protocol is instrumental to the effectiveness in working with clients who have self-harming behaviors, suicidal thoughts, and diagnosed with borderline personality disorder traits.

 

It is an honor to receive the program certification from the DBT-Linehan Board of Certification and be recognized as a leader in providing excellent clinical care for children and teens. Hillside owes special thanks to Dr. Adam Silberman, Medical Director, Lori Hogeman, LCSW, Vice-President of Clinical Services, and Dr. Kimberly Vay, Ed.D, LPC, NCC, CPCS,  the first clinical professional in Georgia to earn DBT-Linehan Board of Certification, Certified Clinician™.  These talented professionals and their colleagues guided Hillside through the rigorous certification process. To learn more about Hillside and the impact of DBT, visit the website at www.hside.org.