We Are NATSAP March 2020 Edition


Checkout our latest edition of We Are NATSAP!

Click Here to view the latest edition of We Are NATSAP.

If you are interested in providing an article for the next edition of We Are NATSAP, please contact Shanita Smith at Shanita@natsap.org. The deadline for the next edition is June 19th.

Submission criteria:

  • Article must be about a CURRENT NATSAP school/program member at the time of submission and release of newsletter. (DUE TO LIMITED SPACE, WE ARE NO LONGER ACCEPTING STAFF ANNOUNCEMENTS)
  • Please submit texts in MS Word, Rich Text Format (RTF), or WordPerfect. If submitting from a Macintosh computer, please include the three-letter file extension in the file name of your article. PDF files are not acceptable.
  • Images should be in .jpg, .png or .tif format. (Please include at least one image.)

Articles should be at least 450 words in length and include a title. (Title of article is not included in word count.)

An e-mail message with the article as an attachment should be sent to shanita@natsap.org.
Please use “We Are NATSAP – Submission” as the subject in the email address block.




NATSAP and the Coronavirus

With Coronavirus (COVID-19) very much on everyone’s minds these days, we wanted to share the following information with you:

Absent federal travel restrictions and/or local, state, or regional decisions to close venues, NATSAP has not canceled any of its upcoming regional conferences. During these events, we commit to maintaining all appropriate sanitary, health, and safety measures and encourage attendees to follow guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. If there are any changes to event schedules, we will provide information to registrants about virtual options that may be available and/or other refund/credit specific details.

At this time, NATSAP has moved the May DC Fly-In to September. More information on this event will be available soon.

At NATSAP conferences:

  • The hotels will be thoroughly sanitizing all conference areas (tables, chairs, door handles…)
  • Depending upon the venue and weather, we hope to utilize conference rooms with outside access and we will be keeping doors open.
  • We will be working with the hotels on food options. We hope to not offer any food in a buffet style service, all food will be individually packaged.
  • The registration desk will feature hand sanitizer stations.
  • Although this is the “huggiest” group of people I have ever met, we will need to replace those hugs with smiles and hand waves.

NATSAP is currently crowdsourcing best practices for programs regarding pre-screening, family seminars, home visits, and staff coverage through a google doc that was sent to program members last week. If you are a NATSAP member and would like the google doc link, please e-mail megan@natsap.org.

We will be hosting a webinar at 2pm eastern on Wednesday March 18th for NATSAP Program Members.

We will be hosting a webinar at 2pm eastern on Thursday March 19th for NATSAP Individual Professional Members.

An e-mail with the log in information will be sent out directly to members. A recording of the webinars will be made available for those who are unable to attend.

The NATSAP Home Office Staff will be working remotely starting Monday March 16th. While we do not foresee any interruption to the services that we provide members, we wanted you to be aware.


Dashboard for tracking COVID-19: https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

Center for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to megan@natsap.org


Megan Stokes and the NATSAP Home Office.

Member Spotlight: Rising Peak Academy – Helping young men succeed for the rest of their lives.

Rising Peak Academy is a long-term residential program that provides young men ages 13-18 the opportunities and motivation to succeed in life while dealing with co-occurring disorders including substance abuse disorder, mental health and behavioral issues. Located on the edge of Glacier Park in Northwest Montana, our 36 year history of adolescent addiction treatment provides our residents the ability to focus on healthy activity, academics, counseling and life-skills that establish a foundation of recovery in each and every resident that attends our program.

Rising Peak Academy focuses on 6 specific areas of adolescent growth and development including Recovery, Academics, Therapy, Life-Skills, Service and Health and Wellness. Taking a holistic development approach, we believe that each young man who participates fully will emerge healthier, more insightful, and more self-confident – skills we know to be the foundation for success in sobriety and adult life.  Literally, and metaphorically, our therapeutic model leads residents through challenges that are strategically designed to foster self-reflection, group accountability, and resilience.

As a team-focused institution, Rising Peak provides professional staff for each department that guide the boys’ thinking and achievements in each of our program areas, but ultimately, we rely on the power of community to truly enforce the difficult steps of recovery.  Our young men will journey into the literal wilds – the peaks and valleys of Montana – as well as into their interior landscapes, with healthy peer driven support along the way.  Through these intrinsic and extrinsic experiences residents of Rising Peak are offered the opportunity to strengthen their resolve in healthy living, academic achievement, sobriety and self-awareness.

Suicide rates among young people see dramatic spike: How to help end the trend

Between 2007 and 2017, the suicide rate among young people ages 10 to 24 increased a staggering 56% according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2017 alone, there were a total of 6,241 suicides in people ages 15 to 24: 5,016 young men and 1,225 young women.

But these numbers are more than just statistics; they are thousands of futures lost and hearts broken.

And could be the loudest cry for help that we all need to hear.

“Many children out there are suffering,” says Dr. Peggy Scallon, medical director of Rogers Behavioral Health’s residential Depression Recovery treatment for adolescents. “These numbers not only shed light on how many children are unfortunately acting on suicidal thoughts, but they also represent a great risk to all of our kids.”

According to the CDC, suicide is the second leading cause of death in young people between the ages of 10 and 24—more than homicide, more than overdoses, more than cancer.

“If we think about these numbers,” says Dr. Scallon, “the automatic thing that comes to mind is ‘why?’”

Why are teen suicide rates rising?

While more research is needed to explain the alarming trend, there are a few things we do know. Underlying mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, substance use, bullying, and trauma all play a role. Dr. Scallon explains the medical community is even beginning to draw a link between social media use, screen time, lack of sleep and the risk of suicide.

How to help prevent teen suicide

Knowing the warning signs is one way everyone can help reverse the rising rate of suicide. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention provides a comprehensive list of warning signs including an increased use of drugs or alcohol, withdrawing from activities and isolating from friends and family, giving away prized possessions, and even talking about killing oneself.

 “There’s an old misnomer that people who are talking about suicide are not the ones who are going to do it…that’s just not true,” says Dr. Martin Franklin, clinical director of Rogers’ Philadelphia clinic.

Hear more insights into teen suicide in this sit-down interview with Dr. Franklin.

If you or someone you love are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.

For more information about mental health treatment at Rogers, call 800-767-4411 or request a free, confidential screening online.

Lisbeth Riis Cooper Appointed to N.C. Governor’s Commission on Mental Health

Lisbeth Riis Cooper, co-founder of CooperRiis Healing Community, has been appointed by Governor Roy Cooper to serve on the N.C. Commission for Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services.

As a Commission member, Riis Cooper joins professionals, consumers and family members from across the state working to promote excellence in prevention, treatment and rehabilitation programs for persons with mental illness, developmental disabilities and substance abuse disorders in North Carolina.

Riis Cooper is Vice Chair and Co-Founder of CooperRiis, a residential mental health treatment community with campuses in Asheville and Mill Spring. She and her husband, Don Cooper, established the community in 2003 in response to their frustrations finding appropriate care for a loved one with mental health challenges. Since then, CooperRiis has helped hundreds of people with mental illness heal and return to productive and fulfilling lives.

“I’m so honored by this appointment and excited to be serving alongside people who are working every day to help individuals affected by the challenges of mental illness, substance abuse and developmental disabilities,” she said.

Created in 1973 as part of the N.C. Executive Organization Act, the Commission has the authority to adopt, amend and repeal rules to be used in the implementation of state and local mental health, developmental disability and substance abuse service programs. Its 32 members include medical and legal professionals, addiction specialists, consumers, and family members representing the state’s 13 congressional districts.

Riis Cooper’s appointment is as a family member representative from N.C. District 10. Her term ends in June 2020. CooperRiis is a residential healing community in the North Carolina mountains for adults living with mental illness, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, PTSD, major depression and anxiety. CooperRiis residents work toward their highest levels of functioning and fulfillment through a personalized recovery approach that combines trusted clinical therapies, community work & service, education, and integrative wellness practices.

The Golden Thread is HERE!

Mike Petree (Petree Consulting) recently held a webinar on “The Nuts and Bolts of the Golden Thread”. The Golden Thread is a comprehensive, integrated research software program that will weave its way with the client through all treatment processes. As a secondary benefit, it would join together the multiple professionals found in IECA, TCA, NATSAP, OBHC, and other supporting programs. Involving educational consultants will result in access to collecting data on clients who seek consulting services but do not end up using a program. Learn how you can be a part of the future of research at NATSAP!

Arts and Community Service Flourish at the Glenholme School

Now in its 51st year, the Devereux Glenholme School in Washington, Connecticut Glenholme accepts youngsters from ages 10 to 21 with high functioning autism, depression, anxiety, Tourette’s, OCD, ADD/ADHD and other learning differences. The Glenholme School provides a panoply of data-driven and evidence based clinical, behavioral and educational interventions individualized to meet each student’s needs.

Two exceptional programs round out the treatment goals in a holistic manner: The Arts Program and the Community Service Program.

First, the Glenholme’s Arts Program involves most of the students. A four-person team comprised of a music teacher, the Arts Director, a movement teacher and an acting teacher work together.

In keeping with the Glenholme school’s  strengths-based, all inclusive ethos, everyone who shows up at auditions will get a part. There are additional slots in lighting, sound, costumes and scenery. Sometimes there are so many of the students in the cast and crew, there are not many students left in the audience.

At rehearsals, the children are kind and supportive of each other. Matthew deLong, Arts Director since 2000, ventured, ”There is a remarkable depth of empathy in the youngsters that we see elsewhere in the school. The kids step up for each other. If a child makes a mistake in rehearsal, the others will clap for them and encourage them to try again.” Staff may need to provide support to get them to show up, when they are not in the mood. Students are sometimes stressed and fearful. Staff and other students encourage them to go on and work through their fear. The end result is that they get through it, have fun and learn a generalizable lesson, that success can come despite fear. When the finished product goes on, staff and parents alike are often amazed at the transformation of the students. In day to day life they may be anxious and shy. On stage they shine and belt out their lines and numbers and one would never suspect this child was ever anxious!

Through the arts program, students pick up many things. Students want a good product and learn just how much practice it takes to achieve one. The hours of practice, and work on a common goal makes for friendships among the performers.

The children learn to accept feedback from each other. Some children have poor relationships with cottage mates.  They become curious about their characters. In learning how to embody their characters, they self-reflect on how they are coming across. This adds an ability to introspect to the youngster’s skills. It is non-threatening when done in the service of the play. This budding skill circles back and assists youngsters in their peer relations. Mr. DeLong has seen students gain poise, self esteem and confidence. The child’s success sees them become more interactive and willing to try new things.

The arts aren’t the only thing that boost Glenholme students in their development. For 15 years, on Wednesdays, a group of children run Bingo games at the Candlewood Valley Health and Rehabilitation Center. Children are paired with residents who need help hearing numbers or seeing their cards. Other students call out the numbers and wheel the prize cart around.

Chrissy Steward, the Community Service Coordinator likes to take the more challenging students. She has found that when these youngsters become “caregivers,” their exterior toughness softens. This infuses the students with a sense of competence and mastery. Many  of the youngsters have grandparents that are far away, or don’t have grandparents. The residents at Candlewood are like surrogate grandparents; showering kindness, approval and appreciation.

The nursing home residents support the Glenholme students as well. When students perform theatrical productions, the Candlewood residents are in the audience. For the last event, the Lion King, the seniors brought flowers to give to the actors.

At the end of this month, Candlewood residents are returning to the Glenholme campus, where the students in the food program will cook and serve lunch.

The convergence of treatment goals in these programs thread through the all encompassing milieu at Glenholme.

What Toll is Social Media Taking on Today’s Teens?

Snapchat. Instagram. Google Hangouts. Facebook. There are endless ways for today’s teens to stay connected. Ask any parent and they’ll tell you social media plays a huge role in their teens’ lives. It can be difficult to keep up with the ever-changing digital world and monitor all the social media platforms that are available.

Consider these statistics from a recent survey by Common Sense Media:

  • 89% of teens have a smartphone.
  • 70% of teens use social media several times a day.
  • 57% of teens agree using social media often distracts them when they should be doing their homework.
  • 54% of teen social media users agree it often distracts them from paying attention to the people they’re physically with.

The pressure to be available 24/7 on social media posting a status, a selfie, or checking likes and comments is a very real challenge for teenagers in this era.

Should parents be worried about the potential impact on their child?

Dr. Stephanie Eken, Rogers’ regional medical director and child and adolescent psychiatrist, says it’s important for parents to be proactive and intentional about the use of technology and recommends the following:

  • Evaluate your child’s maturity.
  • Insist on being friends with your child on social media.
  • Determine up front how much time your child can spend on technology.
  • Have an action plan for dealing with inappropriate or uncomfortable material.
  • Establish technology-free times and zones in your home.

Behaviors that could be cause for concern

If your child exhibits any of the following behaviors, it could be a sign to seek help:

  • Isolating more
  • Communicating less with parents
  • Increased irritability
  • Talking about self-harm
  • Avoiding activities they used to engage in
  • Spending excessive amounts of time on appearance for pictures to post on social media

How Rogers can help

From inpatient and residential care to specialized outpatient treatment, Rogers helps kids and teens rise above their mental health challenges. Call 800-767-4411 or request a free screening online.