A New Feeling of Hope

May 15th, 2018

 “I am a different person than the person who came here. I am saying goodbye to the old me that couldn’t handle the past. I can no longer change the past, but I can live in the present. I have found myself.”

That’s what one teenager said after going through the Children’s Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) at David Lawrence Center. She’s just one of many who have not only found themselves, but also found hope and healing during their time in PHP.

The program—the only one of its kind in Southwest Florida—recently celebrated its first anniversary. Since its grand opening in April 2017, about 90 clients—all aged 13 to 17—have been served. More than 9 out of 10 (92%) have been discharged successfully, and more than 75% of those have not required re-admission.

In other words, the Children’s PHP works very well, not only changing lives, but even saving them, since many of the adolescents who come through the program were suicidal.

One former client said he was “saved by this program. This has helped me stay on the path to where I want to be.” Another former client once “didn’t see the importance of life, and I didn’t care much to find it. But that is not who I am anymore.” And another said they were “leaving with a new feeling of hope in my life.”

Among other things, the program helps adolescents with:

  • Enhancing self-esteem
  • Promoting healthy coping skills
  • Teaching effective communication
  • Developing self-awareness
  • Maintaining a healthy support system
  • Learning how to make wise choices
  • Reducing or eliminating self-harming behaviors

PHP is run by a multidisciplinary team including a psychiatrist, licensed clinicians, and a nurse. Clients participate in daily therapeutic, educational, wellness, and expressive therapy groups. The program also includes weekly individual and family therapy, plus medication management. DLC also works closely with local schools to ensure successful transition back to school.

Jennifer Eagels, Supervisor of PHP, likens it to “therapy day camp. They’re with us from 9 to 4 each day, usually for around two weeks. These are kids who need more than once-a-week therapy sessions. They may have just been released from our crisis stabilization unit, or they’re on the verge of being Baker Acted. These are kids with mental health issues—depression, anxiety, oppositional defiant disorder, kids who are passively suicidal, kids who may be engaging in self-harm, and they’re usually failing in school.

“It’s a high level of care for acute cases, but when they leave the program, they’re usually in a much better place to transition to seeing a therapist once a week.”

Those who have gone through the program certainly agree about that “much better place.”

“I’m stronger, calmer, and more prepared when I have to face my depression and anxiety,” said one. “I’m leaving with a new feeling of hope in my life.”

Parents agree too. Said one, “It’s like I have a different kid.”

Supporters like you make these transformations possible. Please consider another gift today to help more teenagers who are struggling with mental illness.

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