Pacific Solstice Offers Mental Health Program That Quickens Progress in Junior High and High School Students

Teens Need More Than Online School, They Need Suicide Prevention

MISSION VIEJO, Calif., Sept. 09, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- "Recent national surveys of young people have shown alarming increases in the prevalence of certain mental health challenges— in 2019, one in three high school students and half of female students reported persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness, an overall increase of 40% from 2009. We know that mental health is shaped by many factors ..." reports U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy in Protecting Youth Mental Health: The U.S. Surgeon General's Advisory. Further, Dr. Murthy calls all of us to remodel systems to improve the daily functioning of teens: "Our obligation to act is not just medical—it's moral. I believe that, coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have an unprecedented opportunity as a country to rebuild in a way that refocuses our identity and common values, puts people first, and strengthens our connections to each other." Pacific Solstice, a clinic for adolescents and adults in Mission Viejo, California has reconfigured their services to help more teens. The trusted, well-known clinic in South Orange County has developed a unique program for those who are in junior high or high school. Solstice Academy bridges the emotional and social gap between suicide prevention, mental healthcare and academic needs. School and treatment in the same day, from 8A-5:30P.

Solstice Psych PA-C Brianna Riddlebarger states, "Depression and anxiety do not need to impair school progress. Although depression impacts one's ability to think, concentrate, and regulate emotions, life doesn't need to stop. Even when anxiety makes sitting still and finishing tasks difficult, academic progress is possible." Pacific Solstice is licensed by the California Department of Public Health as a Community Mental Health Center (CMHC), certified by the Department of Health Care Services and is accredited by The Joint Commission.  

"In early 2021, emergency department visits in the United States for suspected suicide attempts were 51% higher for adolescent girls and 4% higher for adolescent boys compared to the same time period in early 2019," reports Protecting Youth Mental Health: The U.S. Surgeon General's Advisory. Families, even therapists, cannot compare what they are experiencing to anything. Solstice CEO Britten Devereux tells parents, "As in-person life moved to on-screen life, teens have less access to school counselors, pediatricians, friends and teachers. Emotional regulation comes down to skills. Think of skills as the roots that hold you strong regardless of the storm. Skills are the result of practice. Our structured environment acknowledges diagnoses, like Panic Disorder, or labels like 'oppositional', but puts energy and creativity into skill building. Responding to the psychological pain families are experiencing takes three things: empathy, science and time."

Solstice Academy includes nutritional care, psychiatry appointments, case management skill building, lab work, group work and family counseling to help regain stability and functionality, regardless of the diagnosis. The purpose behind the Academy is to define and build the social skills, routine, and life skills needed for a human connection, mood stabilization, optimal cognition and quite simply, a good life. Solstice Academy works with the school's curriculum to incorporate independent study, tutoring, and a strategic schedule to optimize efficiency and learning. USC Graduate, LCSW and Solstice Co-Founder, Narges Maududi reminds us what to look for, "We all know the trend. Once grades begin to decline, internal frustrations increase ... shame, disappointment, and a sense of feeling behind snowball into cognitive distortions like, 'I will never be good enough,' and 'I am always behind.' Tack on the emotional echo and isolation from excessive screen time and time management and tasks are harder than ever. It's important to act. Look at your options. Untreated, these variables change more than graduating on time, skill acumen, personality and personal responsibility; early intervention alters neural pathways for good." 

It takes a team. From homework to individual coaching to integrative psychiatry to dialectical behavior therapy to meal planning, families need a resource when the hill seems steep. Solstice is in-network with Anthem, Cigna, Aetna, Tricare West, and Optum, which is good news as that covers most of the costs for families. Solstice Academy provides school and treatment Monday through Friday in the same day, from 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m."

A look inside the Academy clarifies the sizeable commitment:

  • Registration for 90-120 days is required, no less.
  • Teen and guardians must attend a weekly workshop on Saturdays 9-11 a.m. in person.
  • Parents are willing to engage personal growth skills, as led and defined by Solstice Academy.
  • Resilience concepts like positive reinforcement and integrative care methods like sleep and blood sugar are at the core.
  • Weekly Family Case Management sessions are required.
  • A spirit of teamwork and long-term goals prevail; so don't expect overnight results.
  • Parents must abandon the idea that their teen will go looking for this solution, demonstrate consistent motivation or endorse it. It's not for the faint of heart. Most teens will want one part or the other and on their terms. Solstice Academy promotes parents taking the lead and self-regulation skills everyone commits to. 

Mental Healthcare and School Together ... Finally. 

Contact or text Solstice at 949.200.7929.

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