Skyland Trail New Website Showcases Adolescent Program

ATLANTA – Skyland Trail, a nationally recognized nonprofit mental health treatment organization that provides evidence-based treatment for individuals with a primary psychiatric diagnosis, recently launched a new website. The new website includes information about  the new adolescent residential treatment program for teens ages 14 to 17, including:

  • Admissions criteria
  • Referral information
  • Descriptions of evidence-based programming
  • Information about the new J. Rex Fuqua Campus, opening fall 2019

Additionally, the updated website provides an improved user experience on desktop, tablet, and mobile devices.

Visitors to will also find information on residential treatment and day treatment programs for adults ages 18 and older.  Potential  adult clients and their families will find information about:

  • adult psychiatric programs admission criteria
  • financial information
  • descriptions of levels of care, including residential treatment, day treatment, and intensive outpatient programs
  • an overview of integrated wellness programs, vocational services, and expressive therapies
  • client and family stories and treatment experiences

Mental health professionals and educational consultants will find information on how to refer to the adult and adolescent programs as well as information about professional workshops and mental health continuing education opportunities in Atlanta.

What is school refusal?

Do you remember how you felt when you first started attending school? How about when you transitioned to high school? If so, you likely remember some stress while adjusting to being away from family, making friends, settling into new routines, and achieving good grades.

For some students, that stress doesn’t go away quite so easily and may lead to a deeper struggle.

School refusal is a term used to describe the behaviors of children who regularly avoid going to school or who have difficulty staying in school when they do attend. School refusal, though, should not be confused with truancy.

“Truant students tend to hide their absences from their parents, and they do not experience anxiety or depression that is associated with coming to school,” says Dr. Heather Jones, psychologist at Rogers Behavioral Health.

Dr. Jones adds, “With school refusal, students are having difficulty being in school or staying in school because of pretty severe anxiety or depression, and other risk factors such as bullying, learning disorders, or substance use.”

How to identify school refusal behaviors

School refusal can be difficult to identify, as it can present differently based on the individual affected. However, there are six common signs of school refusal that can help you pinpoint students who may be struggling:

1. Habitually absent from school. School refusal involves chronic absence from school and difficulty returning after short breaks. “When we see that a child is refusing school multiple days per week, every week, or they just completely stop going to school, there’s typically something connected to that,” says Dr. David Jacobi, lead psychologist, child and adolescent CBT services at Rogers Behavioral Health.

2. Goes to school but has difficulty staying due to crying, clinging, or tantrums. Not all students struggling with school refusal have trouble going to school in the morning. Instead, they may experience outbursts during the day that impact their ability to learn and remain in class.

3. Becomes distressed during the school day and begs to go home. Some students show signs of school refusal when confronted with specific situations or triggers, such as a disappointing grade on an assignment, a big test, or tension with friends.

4. Frequently visits the nurse’s office. Spending more time in the nurse’s office than the classroom, despite no signs of illness, may be an indicator of school refusal.

5. Often complains of stomach aches, headaches, or other physical symptoms brought on by internal stress. These complaints are quite common and can even lead to unnecessary doctor appointments in an attempt to address the problem. Absences for valid medical reasons can also contribute to anxiety and depression and may lead to school refusal.

6. Avoids contact with classmates or teachers. Bullying and other social pressures can make a child wary of returning to school and interacting with others.

Understanding School Refusal podcast

Interested in learning more about school refusal? In Rogers Behavioral Health’s new “Understanding School Refusal” podcast series Rogers’ medical experts explain the many factors that contribute to school refusal, how to identify behaviors, the potential effects of accommodating those behaviors, and the most effective treatment options.

To listen to the podcast and view additional resources, visit the Understanding school refusal webpage.

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.