CooperRiis names new President & CEO

Dr. Eric A. Levine to join mental health healing community in April

ASHEVILLE, N.C.CooperRiis, a residential mental health treatment community in western North Carolina, is pleased to announce the appointment of Eric A. Levine as its new President & CEO.

Levine is currently Executive Director of ClearView Communities, a 36-bed residential treatment program in Frederick, Maryland, for adults with serious and persistent mental health challenges. He replaces Michael Groat, Ph.D., who is departing for a new role as Chief Clinical Officer at Silver Hill Hospital, a private psychiatric hospital in New Canaan, Connecticut. Levine joins CooperRiis upon Groat’s departure April 15, 2019.

“With more than 30 years working in education and mental health, Eric brings vast experience helping individuals affected by the challenges of mental illness and disabilities move toward healthy and fulfilling lives,” said Donald R. Cooper, CooperRiis Board Chair & Co-Founder. “We are fortunate to have him joining our healing community and look forward to the positive impact he’ll have on our residents, their families, and our staff.”

Levine began his career as a special education teacher, later overseeing schools for children and adolescents with emotional and behavioral disabilities. In 2005, he founded Eric A. Levine and Associates, an educational consulting firm that helps children and their families in the Washington-Baltimore metro areas find appropriate services.

Levine earned a doctorate in Education Leadership (Ed.D.), an Ed.S. in Career Transition and Assessment, a master’s in Special Education from George Washington University, and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Maryland. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Association for Community Integration and is a member of the Frederick County, Maryland, Board of Education Strategic Special Education Work Group.

“I’m a believer in programs that maintain possibility and hope as core values. CooperRiis is a place where people come to heal and learn new skills to help them better manage the challenges they’re experiencing so they can return to their lives,” said Levine. “I’m excited to be collaborating with the highly skilled and motivated staff of professionals at CooperRiis as we work toward improving the lives of individuals impeded by mental health challenges.”

About CooperRiis Healing Community

Founded by Donald R. Cooper and Lisbeth Riis Cooper, CooperRiis is a residential healing community in western North Carolina, with a rural campus on a 94-acre farm and an urban campus in the heart of Asheville. Since 2003, CooperRiis has been helping adults living with mental illness, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, PTSD, major depression and anxiety, achieve their highest levels of functioning and fulfillment. A personalized recovery approach combines trusted clinical therapies, community work & service, education and integrative wellness practices.

Visit or call 828.894.7140 for more about CooperRiis Healing Community and its approach to mental health treatment.

A Year of Growth and Excitement at reSTART

2018 has been a year of growth and excitement at ReSTART!  There have been significant additions to our Young Adult program that help our struggling population grow and progress in even more substantial ways.  At ReSTART, we continue to think outside the box and approach therapy from an experiential and relationship based mindset, making the process supportive, caring, and fun!

Rise Up Ranch

Restart 1For the past decade, reSTART has worked with emerging adults in early recovery. Rise-up Ranch allows clients an opportunity to slow the process down at a time when they need it most. The ranch offers a healthy meaningful place to ground, reflect, renew, and ready oneself for building a well thought out plan. Strong beginnings begin with healthy eating, proper sleep hygiene, social and emotional connection, fellowship meetings, and a thorough assessment. Once a strong foundation of health has been established, clients are ready to engage in intensive counseling, where they begin building a long term plan.

Daily activities at Rise-up Ranch include caring for the animals on the ranch, which include horses, goats, chickens, kittens, and a sweet Australian Shepherd named Lasso.  Days are spent focusing on the day to day responsibility of ranch living. Clients participate in weekly therapy sessions at our Bellevue Campus.

As readiness is shown, clients transition to the Heavensfield campus where they attend daily groups, participate in intensive therapy, and build their life balance plan.  The majority of this work will be done during the day at our Bellevue Campus described below.

We are excited about the potential this new shared community will offer those seeking a healthier, more sustainable life.

Bellevue Campus

Restart 2reSTART is placing itself on the motherboard of silicon valley north in the Bellevue Technology Center just blocks from Microsoft’s headquarters. In searching for a place to call home, Bellevue Technology Center stood out as the natural leader. “Our values of offering a lifestyle experience aligned with the KBS’s philosophy of offering higher purpose buildings. Together we believe in offering a place where people come together in a place of gathering, not just a place to work,” according to Rae. Positioned on 46-park like acres in the middle of the city, “the new campus aligns with our corporate beliefs and values of community, connection, and nature. Of course, being surrounded by leaders in the tech industry will increase conversational opportunities about healthy sustainable digital use. We hope to partner with tech companies to come up with innovative ways to meet the needs of those we mutually serve.”

Restart 3The new campus was designed with emerging adults in mind. Inspired by playfulness, reSTART hopes to revolutionize care by offering a space which fosters community connection, not just sessions. “We invited our clients to join us in planning the look and feel of the new space.” As you can imagine, think google versus counseling office space. The new center features a rec room with shuffleboard, ping pong, life size scrabble, and foosball. Counseling and coaching rooms are uniquely themed to inspire people to invite the outside inside metaphorically, and to ponder life’s endless possibilities. Using the hot seating concept, therapists and clients alike have a choice of where they’d like to meet. Options include a music and drama room, a hammock room, library, and even a nope room. Because some days, it’s just “nope.”

“We are excited to offer a space uniquely designed for people seeking a healthier relationship with digital technology. Swimming against the flow of digital advancement can be difficult. However, free-range digital use isn’t always the best choice for a healthy lifestyle.” Our new space hopes to bridge the gap in services for those seeking what matters most – life.”


7 Warning Signs of Teen Drug or Alcohol Use

The statistics on teen drug and alcohol use are staggering.

“Studies show that 15% of eighth graders have tried alcohol or other illegal substances, and 50% of high school students have reported trying some kind of drug,” says Dr. Azhar Yunus, medical director of Rogers’ Adolescent Recovery Program and child and adolescent outpatient services.

According to the Center on Addiction, 9 out of 10 people who go on to develop substance problems started using before they turned 18.

Since more and more kids are experimenting with alcohol and drugs at an early age, Dr. Yunus says recognizing the signs of substance use becomes critical.

7 warning signs that a teenager may be using drugs or alcohol

  • Changes in personality or behavior such as more irritability, including aggressive or violent outbursts
  • A decrease in grades at school
  • A change in friends or withdrawing from friends and family
  • Less interest in activities and lower motivation overall
  • Physical symptoms such as bloodshot or dilated eyes, weight loss, poor hygiene, unexplained nosebleeds or shakiness
  • Finding drugs or paraphernalia in a child’s room
  • A family history of substance use

Dr. Yunus also explains, “It’s rare that someone will just have substance use and no other mental health issues. In fact, substance use is often a way a teen may self-medicate or alleviate the symptoms he or she may be experience due to a co-occurring mental health disorder such as anxiety, depression, or ADHD.”

Substance use and dual diagnosis treatment for teens at Rogers Behavioral Health

To be able to treat even more kids who are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, Rogers Behavioral Health provides outpatient treatment for teens throughout the Milwaukee area as well as residential treatment through the recently expanded Adolescent Recovery Program in West Allis, WI. Led by Dr. Yunus and a multidisciplinary team of mental health professionals, adolescents ages 12 to 17 receive evidence-based treatment in a homelike, residential setting.

A new outpatient, dual diagnosis program for teens is also now available in Rogers’ Nashville location.

To learn how Rogers can help a teens struggling with addiction, request a free confidential screening at 800-767-4411 or request a screening online.



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

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”

For more information about CDC’s Preventing Suicide: A Technical Package of Policy. Programs, and Practices, click here