Evoke Promotes Voting Participation

A message from Brad Reedy, Ph.D., Owner and Executive Clinical Director of Evoke Therapy Programs

With the election season upon us, my Evoke partners and I asked ourselves, “Besides casting our own ballots, what else could we do to make a difference?” We believe that participation in society, specifically in our democracy through the sacred act of voting, is an integral part of clients’ and employee’s whole health. Regardless of one’s ideology or political views, it is clear that electing government leaders can have a dramatic and practical impact on many issues affecting our mental health and quality of life. With this in mind,  we created several initiatives to encourage and ensure that every employee and eligible client has the support, time, and resources to vote in the 2020 general election. 

With this as our foundation, we launched and implemented the following initiatives:

  • Every employee would be encouraged to vote and would be provided the information and resources (i.e., computer) to register and vote, while getting paid “on-the clock.” We would offer guidance and support to encourage employees to have a voting plan.
  • While our company operates in states that primarily use mail-in voting, any employee choosing to volunteer at polling sites would be paid for their time.
  • As the voting registration approached, we provided support for eligible clients to register and vote. This support included the use of computers and any material requested for educating individuals regarding candidates or any other initiatives on their ballot.
  • We have shared these initiatives in the hopes that other wilderness and therapeutic programs will invest the same kind of energy into making sure that all employees and eligible clients are able to vote. 

As most know, more than 100 million eligible voters sat out of the last general election. In the years since, we have witnessed rising awareness and enthusiasm from the electorate, specifically our young people, on many of the issues affecting our country and the world. And while our therapeutic work is a-political, our shared interest in making the world a better place begs us all to do our part. We cannot compartmentalize our mental health issues from our citizenship in society—they are inextricably linked. They are part of the same whole that make us human and we believe that this places a responsibility on those of us in the treatment field to lead, teach, and model participation in our democracy. It is with these values in mind we have taken these initiatives and invite others in leadership to do the same.

NATSAP Member Spotlight Submission Guidelines

Join us in our NATSAP Member Spotlight Program! 

The NATSAP Member Program will highlight NATSAP member programs and the unique work they do. We want to offer an opportunity for you to share your story with your colleagues and the NATSAP community, inspire future NATSAP members, and strengthen awareness fo our collective mission. 

Submissions will be accepted on a rolling deadline. Descriptions will be selected in order based upon date received. New postings will appear on our social media pages with a link back to the program’s website.

Submission requirements: 

  1. 1 spotlight bio (maximum 300 words) 
  2. 1-3 photos (1 required, 3 maximum)
  3. Contact email

Questions to answer in your spotlight include: 

  1. Who you  are
  2. Who you serve
  3. What makes your program unique
  4. Special events (either upcoming or recently held)
  5. Number of years as a NATSAP member

Thank you for participating! 

Submitting a Spotlight Bio

Any program/school wishing to submit an article for this newsletter MUST be a current NATSAP member program/school in good standing

Please use the link below to be take to our submission page.


We Are NATSAP : September 2020


Highlighting the achievements of our members.

In this edition, we are honored to have 16 of our member programs sharing their exciting news with us through our latest edition of We Are NATSAP. Read all about their celebrations, accomplishments and collaborations in our newsletter.

Interested in participating?

Send in your latest accomplishments and upcoming projects or share a story in our next edition of We Are NATSAP. This is the perfect place to shine a light on your program and/or clients’ achievements.

If you are interested in submitting an article for the newsletter, please submit your article and accompanying image(s) to Shanita Smith at shanita@natsap.org by Friday, December 11.

All articles must be received by 11:59 PM ET. This edition does not have a theme and will be released on Friday, December 18.

We are looking forward to sharing your stories!

Due to limited space and NATSAP policy, we are unable to share advertisements for admissions, job announcements and classified ads in our newsletters.

Ultra Cyclists Go for Records While Raising Awareness and Funding for Wilderness Therapy

Four world-class ultra cyclists known as the Soaring Coots have come together to raise awareness of the mental health challenges facing youth today, the healing work of wilderness therapy and to raise funds for Sky’s the Limit Fund (STLF). Therapeutic Wilderness programs exist to provide a rich, intensive, clinically-proven therapeutic experience for a child and their family struggling with mental health and addiction, providing tools to get better. However, this level of care is costly, and beyond the reach of many families. STLF provides much needed financial support to families in need while their partner wilderness programs match their funding with a reduction in tuition.

During these crazy Covid-19 times, The Soaring Coots have found a unique way to pay it forward and help youth in crisis continue to get the support of wilderness therapy so many of them desperately need. Each of the riders has their own story to tell, facing mental health challenges in their own families. Riding has become their platform to make a difference. They are now well on their way to their goal of winning the Mountain West ultra cup and raising $50,000 to help transform the lives of youth in crisis.

The team crushed the first race of the three race Mountain West series in July – Race Across Oregon. They won the race and set a new course record. Coming up quickly now are the final two races of the series:

  1. Hoo Doo 500 (August 29-30): 500 Miles, targeting sub 24 hours (the current overall team record.) – Riding out of St George Utah, this course has a very fast record and elevations as high as 9,000 feet – three of the Soaring Coots live at sea level! It will take everything they have to both win and attempt to beat the speed set by a much younger team.
  2. Silver State 508 (Sept 18-20): 508 miles, targeting sub 25 hours. A 508 mile route across Nevada. – This is a fast course record to attempt on a course with huge temperature changes and a lot of climbing.

Mark and Shane are both solo winners of this race (2018 and 2019 respectively). For Paul and Yann it will be their first time. Each rider will have to be on their best form to make this happen. The team acknowledges that as hard as it can get for them during their races, it is nothing compared to what young people are facing when they get to the wilderness and start their healing journey.

Hard work, dedication and commitment is the commonality.

If you would like to cheer the Soaring Coots on during their adventure, learn more about them individually & DONATE to help break the barrier of cost for wilderness therapy:


NATSAP Member Spotlight: Hillside

Hillside® offers treatment for youths who have struggled with primary psychiatric disorders. Based in Atlanta, we provide psychiatric and therapeutic care for all gender clients, ages 5-25, in our residential, day, and intensive in-home therapy programs.

The first, and still only, residential program to become a Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)-Linehan Board of Certification, Certified Program™ in the nation, Hillside’s clinicians are trained in DBT for Children, DBT Prolong-Exposure Protocol, Radically Opened DBT, and DBT-PTSD.

Hillside stays on the forefront of treatment through partnerships with several universities. We are proud of our strong clinical program and our effort to meet the challenge of make quality treatment accessible. We recently launched the Hillside Atlanta Foundation to help fund scholarships for treatment, training, and research in behavioral health.

Hillside has been a member of NATSAP since 2017.

For more information: http://www.hside.org http://www.HillsideAtlantaFoundation.org

Contact Email: gakers@hside.org

Glenholm School- Entire Campus Becomes Sensory Gym

Press Release- For Immediate Release

Glenholme student playing on inflatable ball

When the Coronavirus thwarted the Glenholme School’s plan to create a sensory room, the school’s clinicians had to think fast and pivot. The space reserved for this purpose was needed for social distancing. The Glenholme School is a 52 year old co-ed therapeutic boarding school for students 10-21 years old with learning disabilities, high functioning autism, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and other learning challenges and mood disorders.

Children who are gifted and those with ADHD, and Autism have a prevalence of sensory processing difficultythat is much higher than in the general population. They may be unable to modulate their activity level, and their level of excitement. For example, noises may hurt their ears and bright lights may really disturb them.

Sensory processing refers to the way the nervous system receives messages from the senses and turns them into responses. For those with difficulty processing sensory information, sensory information goes into the nervous system but does not get interpreted accurately for appropriate responses.

Senses are the first things that a baby experiences. They form the foundation for interpreting the world. The brain processes sensory information before any other input, like language. Deep touch and pressure such as swaddling a baby is calming to the infant. Watching a mobile offers stimulating sensory input. Other kinds of sensory input provides a centering or focusing result.

One area occupational therapists work with children on are sensory issues. They teach them how to soothe themselves and how to help them manage responses to sensory input. 

The Clinical Director, Movement/Dance Therapist, OT and one of the social workers at the Glenholme School have been working to infuse the school with methods to help students calm their bodies when excited, center themselves and energize themselves, using ordinary supplies that might be outdoors on campus or inside the cottages in the kitchens. They are putting together a syllabus, and training manual to teach the boarding staff how to lead the youngsters through different somatic and sensory exercises. Many of these activities are ones that the residential staff already do with students, but may not have had the conceptual framework in which to place these activities.

Bike riding, playing on swings, balance activities on logs or curbs, hiking with a purpose, like “ABC hiking,” twister, climbing trees, tumbling, making slime, or baking bread and cookies are all examples of everyday activities that provide sensory input.

Staff have conducted these activities routinely, and may be intuitively aware that students become engaged in these activities. They are now being taught on a conceptual level which activities should be used when, and how these activities evoke which type of response: calming, energizing, or centering.

Kudos to the adaptability of the clinical and residential staff at the Glenholme School for turning around a difficult situation in a way that benefits the students.

CooperRiis Launches New Insurance Driven Intensive Clinical Program

“CooperRiis at Asheville” to open September 1st, 2020

A4CIP | CooperRiis

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — CooperRiis residential mental health treatment and healing community in Western North Carolina is pleased to introduce their new clinically intensive and insurance-driven CooperRiis at Asheville Program, opening September 1st, 2020. The CooperRiis at Asheville Program offers short-term treatment; 30-90 days, designed to promote stabilization and develop a foundation for a potential next step into its longer-term residential program on The CooperRiis Farm in Mill Spring.

The CooperRiis at Asheville Program integrates clinical services through psychiatry, individual and group therapy, and independent skill and functional recovery programming. The recovery program will benefit individuals in early recovery and individuals experiencing setbacks or recurrent mental health and substance use challenges.

The CooperRiis at Asheville Program treats adults 18 and over who experience mental health diagnoses such as anxiety, major depression, PTSD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, personality disorders, and any co-occurring condition related to addiction (dual diagnosis).

The CooperRiis at Asheville Program provides clinical services that will include psychotherapy, psychiatry, experiential group therapy, optimized medication use, psychoeducation, and 24-hour nursing. Evidenced-based group modalities are offered, such as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Expressive Arts Therapy, and Psychosis Support.

The introduction of this new program is especially relevant today, as the COVID-19’s emerging impact on society’s mental health has been profound. The CooperRiis commitment to the principles of recovery provides an essential service for people whose emotional well-being has been further compromised by the pandemic.

CooperRiis believes that with its focused attention, this program can help address the emerging societal complexity of the virus epidemic with this vulnerable population,” Eric A. Levine, Ed.D, President and CEO.

About CooperRiis Healing Community

Founded by Donald R. Cooper and Lisbeth Riis Cooper, CooperRiis is a non-profit organization accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). CooperRiis residential healing community in Western North Carolina, with a rural campus on a 94-acre farm and an urban campus in Asheville. Since 2003, CooperRiis has been helping adults living with mental health challenges achieve their highest levels of functioning and fulfillment. A personalized recovery approach, CooperRiis combines trusted clinical therapies, community work & service, education, and integrative wellness practices.

Visit https://www.cooperriis.org/ or call 828.894.7140.

NATSAP Member Spotlight: Ashcreek Academy

Ashcreek Academy is for young men, ages 13-17. We are located in Toquerville, Utah in the beautiful red rocks. We help boys who are working through issues such as: attachment, trauma, depression, and anxiety. Because of the trauma that they have experienced, they are processing things through their brain stem. This is when they are in the fight, flight or freeze mode. We are helping re-wire their nuero pathways to their pre-frontal cortex, where logical decision making is made. The way we do that is through Experiential Education and Therapy- taking the boys off campus and teaching through moving their bodies. This includes hiking, mountain biking, skiing, rock climbing, kayaking, etc. 

We have been open since 2012 and a member of NATSAP for most of our years we have been open. We are excited to be in the spotlight, showing off our awesome program and the great work we are doing with these boys. 

Contact e-mail: karcher@ashcreekacademy.com


Want your program featured in our spotlight? Log onto your member portal at natsap.org. Find the submission page in the resources tab, upload your spotlight post, and check back on our blog for your feature!


This information on GAP Year resources and volunteer opportunities is being provided by a third party and as an educational resource only. Not all programs listed are NATSAP members. We ask that our audience conduct due diligence as they look at the many opportunities available to them.

Friends, it’s summer in the northern hemisphere and all of us are wanting to support our clients (or our own teens/twenties who need to be occupied!) through COVID.  Gap programs, both non-therapeutic and “soft support” exist, and I wanted to share these updates.  These may be known to you; the weekly Gap Year Association zoom meetings have important Gap year and hybrid-Gap updates and generous sharing occurs, see below.  

  • Gap Year Association, www.gapyearassociation.org, continues to provide updates and links for us on line, they have jumped from 69% increase in interest (as have Gap programs) to 82% increase in interest this past week. COVID uncertainty of course, but young people are getting informed and integrating this option into post-stabilization treatment as well as deferral from college for Fall 2020.  IT IS WORTH being a $25/year or $75/year member to participate in these weekly updates and access to information.  Go to website to see provider updates as well.
  • Summer volunteering WWOOF farming opportunities are increasing in the US: https://wwoof.net; I have been monitoring for weeks and young adults can do short term weekends or months-2 months engagements with room and board provided, no supervision but often living with a stable couple/family.  One post-therapeutic stable client just left for a 2 month gig after doing weekends as a first stage.  Therapy and coaching will continue virtually of course with you and some of your clients, as I do with mine.
  • GYA is working closely with Americorp and JobCorp to consolidate summer opportunities, dates and announcements to come, keep watching websites for the 4 and 6 week programs as they get full quickly.  In Colorado a 6 week internship for contact tracing work is being launched–again, keep checking the website as this is constantly developing.
  • https://eco-institute.org/garden-cooperative, Eco-Institute:  several summer opportunities, some are waitlisted, and in the time of COVID they are watching and may add segments
  • Connects, a 28 day wilderness “light therapy” summer experience starting 7/1/20 for young adults 18-25 provided by New Visions Wilderness, daryn.reiner@nvwild.com
  • Borderlands, a Carpe Diem 8 week program, https://www.carpediemeducation.org/programs/borderlands/, for Fall 2020 and Spring 2020, if your client has interest apply now.
  • Pure Life in Costa Rica is relaunching 8/31:  https://www.purelifeadventure.com, contact Carrie Weatherhead, cweatherhead@purelifeadventure.com
  • Discovery Campus of Pacific Discovery, https://www.pacificdiscovery.org/discovery-campus/#e745#global-locations, has domestic offerings in several places starting 8/17, with guidance of “select your top three locations in US” as this will be interest-adapted with locations running if group capacity achieved.
  • Idaho Leadership/Internship available now, http://www.innerpathworks.com, with Randy Russell.  5 day week 9-5pm curriculum with weekends both managed and self-guided, room for 2-3 more young men or women.
  • Planned re-opening for Israel this summer, American Israel Gap Year Association, https://www.americanisraelgapyearassociation.org/resources–sponsors.html, Phyllis Folb is updating us regularly.
  • Wisdom Ranch, https://wisdomranch.org, Montana internships/support program.
  • NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) is accepting for July in Rocky Mountains and Alaska: https://www.nols.edu/en/about/resources/travel-notices/
  • Available now: Oregon/Scotland Fall Semester 9/2020:  https://theportlandhouse.com is collaborating with domestic internship providers combined with guided Cascades mountain and river excursions, culminating in November 2 week private transport to Scotland outer Hebrides with caravan transportation, for a COVID Fall semester in addition to their year round internships with residential support. Excursions starting July 1.
  • Irish Gap Year reports planned opening, https://www.irishgapyear.com, with optimism that their program will adjust to base operations in Ireland and “wait and see” for the European Explorations component.

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list and of course there is so much more–this summary is what I have from the “COVID phase 1-2 and loosening of restrictions” info that I’ve been tracking most recently through these useful Zoom meetings as a GYA attendee.  So many good international programs are on hold, waiting, others are contained/controlled as a group and will be “based” rather than itinerary composed.  Many domestic opportunities will hopefully yet exist and be announced. I want to recognize the good people of GYA, the Gap year guides and programs that have participated in these resourcing Zoom meetings and their generous sharing of information.

Sarah Persha