Vive Adolescent Care institution in St. George, Utah, date not given | Photo courtesy of Vive Adolescent Care, St. George News
CONTRIBUTED CONTENT Hormones aren’t the only thing that can affect your teen’s mental health. The added stresses of school, social media, competitive sports, and exposure to illicit drugs can cause a setback that many parents are not ready to handle.
The causes of a mental health crisis can be many, such as a new-onset psychiatric disorder, worsening of an existing disorder or exposure to trauma, said Dr. Kenny Hirschi, a board-certified psychiatrist and medical director of Vive Adolescent Care in St. George. It is important to remember that no one is immune to a mental health crisis and that it is becoming more common, especially among our younger population.
How can parents recognize a mental health crisis and what steps can they take?
A mental health crisis, as defined by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is any situation in which a person’s behavior puts them at risk of harm to themselves or others and prevents them from taking care of themselves or functioning properly. Many warning signs occur before a mental health crisis.
Stuart Squires, licensed clinical social worker and clinical director at Vive, said looking for significant and moderate changes in behavior is key. Physical or sexual behavior, crying spells, limited ability to express frustration, and declining school grades, anything out of character for your child’s normal behavior can raise red flags that help is needed.
Other signs include social withdrawal, not talking openly with parents, isolation, substance use, and excessive consumption of social media and/or video games.
If a teen is talking to you as a parent, that’s a good sign, and he can easily connect with resources when he needs them, Squires said. To me, it’s a bigger warning sign when they don’t talk or connect with you because you’re left with a lot of unknowns.
Although identifying the warning signs can help children get help earlier, other mental health crises can occur without warning. Unforeseen life-changing events, such as a breakup or failing a test they studied hard for, can set off an emotional downward spiral.
On the other hand, simple things like daily routines can make a significant difference. Having breakfast together, spending 10 minutes talking and sharing a meal each night can lay the foundation for communication. When the lines of communication are open and children feel safe and comfortable sharing, they are more likely to share again in times of crisis.
Hirschi said if a child is a danger to themselves or others, parents should intervene and seek help immediately. Otherwise, the problem does not resolve itself without significant negative residual effects on the family and the child. Then the versatile treatment from Vive becomes essential.
Vive primarily works with young people between the ages of 12 and 17 who struggle with suicidal tendencies, self-harm, high levels of anxiety and depression, and other moderate to severe mental health issues. They provide intensive treatment options that include inpatient care, inpatient care, short-term residential care, and partial hospitalization. They also help patients transition to outpatient services once they stabilize.
Their three-step approach maximizes treatment while minimizing the need for a lengthy stay. A varied treatment plan allows each child to grow and heal at their own pace, while being comfortable at every level of care they receive. Each treatment effectively stabilizes, assesses and treats the youth during their stay.
As an insurance-based facility, Vive aims to remove the added stress and accessibility barrier. They believe that every person seeking care should have access.
We don’t want to add a financial crisis on top of a mental crisis, Squires said. If you have insurance, we work with it.
In addition to their insurance-based treatment programs, they also offer a variety of alternative and innovative treatments such as ketamine therapy and hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
As healthcare providers in a family environment, Vive has partnered to deliver life-saving care in one unique, comfortable and continuous environment. This means there are no gaps, no gaps in treatment, and no one wondering what’s next. Their mission is to provide short-term, innovative and individualized medical and clinical treatment to youth in crisis, while offering safety, stability and renewed hope for patients and their families.
Clarify mental health referrals by completing the five-minute assessment on the Vive Adolescent Care website.
Written by JESSI BANG for St. George News.
- Vive Adolescent Care | Address: 120 V. 1470 South, St. George | Phone: 435-703-6470 or 435-669-4106 | Working hours: Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m Website.
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