Rates of Mental Health Symptoms and Substance Use in Santa Barabara High Schools

Teens in the Santa Barbara Unified School District (SBUSD) took a survey last year to gauge their rates of substance use and mental health issues. This survey, called the California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS), asked public school students statewide about a number of different issues in their lives: family connectedness, safety and crime at school, […]

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Digital Self-Harm: What It Is and Why Teens Do It

Hannah Smith, fourteen years old, received waves of horrible, abusive messages on ASKfm, a social media site popular with teens. On August 6, 2013, she committed suicide. Her parents immediately blamed cyberbullies, until an investigation proved that the aggressive posts hadn’t come from peers: She wrote them herself. Self-Bullying Hannah is not the only one. […]

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What to Do When People Don’t Believe Your Depression is Real

You know you have depression. You might have been diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD). But what happens when other people minimize or discount your depression? What if they don’t believe you at all? Friends, family, peers, or even strangers may tell you that your depression isn’t real. They might say most people with depression […]

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Palo Alto, CA: Mental Health and Suicide Statistics for Teens

Palo Alto has received considerable attention in recent years from media and mental health professionals concerned about its alarming rates of teen suicide. In this affluent Bay Area town, seven adolescents ended their own lives in the span of just ten years. And, over the past decade, there has been an unusual amount of teen […]

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How to Help Your Teenager Make Friends

For teenagers, a solid group of friends can enrich life and make the ups and downs of adolescence a fun, shared experience. Friends can help teens manage school, romance, family troubles, sports, and everything else that goes along with being a teen. But not all teens make friends easily, and sometimes life events interrupt friendships […]

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How to Tell if a Teen Needs Residential Treatment

If you worry your teen is getting off track this fall, you’re not alone. Parents across the country understand that the stress and disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic can have a wide range of negative consequences for their teens. Shelter-in-place orders, social distancing guidelines, and virtual school all mean things teens previously took for […]

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National Recovery Month 2020: Celebrating Connections

For over 20 years – since 1999 – the Substance Abuse and Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) organized and promoted National Recovery Month (Recovery Month) every September. The goal of Recovery Month is to spread awareness, reduce stigma, and educate individuals and families about the importance of mental health and substance use treatment and services. This […]

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Research Report: Wisconsin Student Athletes, COVID-19, and Depression

We recently published an article about the relationship between teen mental health, coronavirus, and high school sports. That piece was based on a study initiated by a Canadian high school student who analyzed the effect of coronavirus lockdown on student athletes in her school district in Ontario. She found that after six weeks of shelter-in-place […]

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Does Virtual Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (eCBT) Work for Depression?

Events in the year 2020 changed life in the U.S. in countless ways. One change many of us experience directly is the shift to virtual work and school. Those aren’t the only things that shifted, though. Social contact, live music, and in-person events – from awards shows to graduations to conventions – now frequently occur […]

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How Do Teachers Feel About Returning to Virtual Teaching?

The Santa Monica Unified School District (SMUSD) will resume classes via distance-learning this year. For Ms. Orah Gidanian, a special-education instructor at the Santa Monica Alternative School House (SMASH), this makes sense. “While I am definitely nervous thinking about how this will impact our students’ academic futures and their families, I didn’t see how we […]

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LA Unified School District: Substance Use and Mental Health Report

The Los Angeles County Unified School District is the largest school district in Los Angeles County. It represents about 42 percent of the public-school students in Los Angeles County. If you’ve ever been curious about rates of mental health and substance use disorder in LA County, there’s a yearly report that has your answer: The […]

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COVID-19, High School Athletes, and Mental Health

The coronavirus pandemic touches almost every facet of life for people in the U.S. The way we work, the way we play, the way we socialize – it’s nearly impossible to find an area of day-to-day living that coronavirus does not affect. At the start of the pandemic, most of us thought we were at […]

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Mental Health and Suicide Statistics for Teens in Santa Clara County

Santa Clara County has received attention in recent years from media and mental health professionals concerned about the alarming rates of mental health issues among youth. For example, in Palo Alto, specifically, there were an unusual amount of teen suicide clusters over the past decade. Between two Palo Alto high schools, the suicide rate is […]

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In Moraga, California, Twenty-Five Percent of Fifth Graders Have Tried Alcohol

If you’re a parent, teacher, or professional who works with youth in Contra Costa County, California, you might be interested in the current rates of adolescent substance use in cities such as Danville, San Ramon, Walnut Creek, Lafayette, and Moraga. While our past articles have focused on substance use in high school students, this article […]

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Art Therapy for Anxious Teens

Most teen treatment centers offer art therapy as a supplemental treatment to traditional talk therapies like dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This evidence-based treatment often benefits people with trauma – especially childhood trauma. Art is also a productive medium for opening up treatment-resistant teens. It can help them become more comfortable […]

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Understanding the Biology and Genetics of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder (BD) is a leading cause of global disability, with well-defined symptoms characterized largely by persistent mood instability. The classic presentation of the disease includes episodes of extreme elation and severe depression, with periods of relatively stable mood in between. Manic swings may include not only significant elevation in mood, but also related changes […]

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July is BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month

In 2005, Bebe Moore Campbell, national spokesperson for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI-LA), began a collaboration with NAMI peer Linda Wharton-Boyd that led to the launch of the first Minority Mental Health Awareness Month (MMHAM). Here’s how Campbell described the goal and message of the first MMHAM: “We need a national campaign to […]

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Danville and San Ramon, CA: Mental Health and Suicide Statistics for Teens

Teens in the San Ramon Unified School District took a survey last year to gauge their rates of substance use and mental health issues. This survey, called the California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS), asked public school students statewide about a number of different issues in their lives: family connectedness, safety and crime at school, bullying, […]

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Mental Health/Suicide Statistics for Teens in Contra Costa County, CA

The most recent data on substance use and mental health issues among Contra Costa County residents is from 2015/2016. That’s the last year that Contra Costa, countywide, participated in the California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS). Contra Costa County includes the following cities and towns: Antioch Brentwood Clayton Concord Danville El Cerrito Hercules Lafayette Martinez Moraga […]

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How To Help Teens Resist Online Extremism

On average, teens spend more than 7 hours each day watching videos, reading posts, and sharing information on the internet. Cat videos can be completely harmless and fan forums for television shows and music can be great ways for young people to have fun and connect with friends. But your teen’s favorite apps and social […]

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L.A. County Teens: Mental Health and Addiction Statistics

Every year, the California Department of Education Coordinated School Health and Safety Office administers a survey to public school students in school districts across the state. This annual survey is called the “California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS)”. Officials administer this anonymous and confidential survey to public school students in grades five, seven, nine, and eleven […]

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The Connection Between Teen Trauma and Psychosis

According to NAMI, any traumatic event can trigger a psychotic episode. Car accidents. War. Violent assaults. Terrorism. Physical abuse. Sexual abuse or extreme neglect. However, certain events are more highly linked to psychosis. Experiencing a natural disaster and seeing someone killed or injured are both traumas that have been shown to induce psychosis in many […]

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The Impact of COVID-19 on Teens with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by repetitive, obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors that often intrude upon a person’s day-to-day life. This anxiety disorder is a common psychiatric disorder for adolescents. Evidence shows that between one and three percent of children and teens struggle with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Some common types of obsession include worrying about something […]

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Report: The Most Commonly Abused Drugs in LA County

Addiction and substance use is a nationwide problem. But specific areas of the country show specific trends and drug patterns. For example, the 2019 Los Angeles County Sentinel Community Site (SCS) Drug Use Patterns and Trends Report shows the current statistics of drug use in Los Angeles County. Dr. Mary-Lynn Brecht of UCLA authored the […]

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Family DBT at Evolve: How We Do It

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is all about change. From emotions to behaviors to modes of thinking, the essence of DBT lies in learning how to transform life-interrupting thoughts, emotions, and actions to life-affirming thoughts, emotions, and actions. At Evolve Treatment Centers, we take a comprehensive approach to treatment in order to address all aspects of […]

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When Therapists Experience Burnout

What is burnout? Burnout is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion caused by exposure to long-term stressors in one’s profession. Dr. Christina Maslach, a burnout expert and a professor at the University of California-Berkeley, is the creator of the Maslach Burnout Inventory. In her research, she finds that burnout is particularly common in […]

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Six Tips to Help Therapists Transition from In-Person to Virtual Therapy

We’re in the midst of a global pandemic. It’s a big deal. But it doesn’t change the fact that teenagers all over the country still need intensive treatment for mental health and substance use disorders. In light of the current regulations, most therapists have shifted over to teletherapy. Likewise, since adolescent intensive outpatient programs (IOP) […]

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The Virtual School Teacher: How Do You Monitor Student Mental Health During COVID-19?

Families around the U.S. are adapting to a new normal. Not just one new normal, but new patterns in almost every area of life: how they shop, how they work, how they spend free time, how they exercise, and how they maintain relationships with friends and extended family. They’re also adapting to how their kids […]

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Counterpoint – Study Shows Screen Time Does Not Predict Teen Mental Health Issues

A widely accepted public narrative exists about the relationship between technology use and mental health. It goes like this: the more time you spend looking at screens and using screen-based technology, the worse your mental health is. Most people think this is obvious. They tend to think it’s most obvious in teens and pre-teens – […]

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Therapists: Do You Practice Self-Care?

People often think therapists don’t have the same kind of problems the rest of us have. They have all the coping mechanisms at their disposal, so they should be fine – right? But the truth is that more than three-quarters of psychologists acknowledge experiencing distress in their personal lives. And almost forty percent say that […]

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How Therapists Use DBT to Treat DMDD

Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, or DMDD, is a relatively new psychiatric disorder described in the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Behavioral Disorder (DSM-V, 2013). The diagnosis was created for children with behavioral symptoms that overlap with oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), bipolar disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but do not […]

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Is Technology in the Classroom Distracting?

Technology in the classroom is as much a part of education now as pencils and paper were fifty years ago. The technology we discuss in this article, though, is digital technology: the phones, tablets, and laptops students use during class. We’re not going to talk about PowerPoint presentations, online homework assignments, or research conducted on […]

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Too Much Too Soon: The Long-Term Effects of Academic Preschools

Early Childhood: The Foundations of Learning Child development experts recognize that early childhood education is crucial to the long-term academic success of an individual. Research shows that the first five years of life set the stage for everything that comes afterwards, and that during this time, children’s brains are most receptive to learning language and […]

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The Benefits of Play Therapy for Young Children and Adolescents

What Is Play Therapy? Play therapy was developed early in the 20th century as a way for psychiatrists, psychotherapists, teachers and other childcare professionals to help young children positively and productively handle a wide range of emotional and psychological challenges. The underlying premise of play therapy is to meet children at their own level, where […]

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Six Ways to Validate a Client, According to DBT

Your client is upset about something or another. You know you have to validate. But did you know there are six levels of validation, according to Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)? DBT developer Dr. Marsha Linehan identified six ways to validate another person, with each level increasing in difficulty. The higher the level, the more intensely […]

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Carolina Dozal: Evolve’s All-Star Therapist

Meet Carolina, DBT Therapist at Evolve—and a Nike-Affiliated Athlete Evolve prides itself on its dedicated staff. Often, our clinicians are experts not only in their field of mental health, but in other areas as well. One such example is Carolina Dozal, primary therapist at Evolve Vanalden in Tarzana, California. Dozal attended the University of California-San […]

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Mindful Walking: A Tool for Recovery

Mindfulness practices have been recognized as effective strategies in the treatment of the effects of stress, anxiety, and depression since the 1970s. Pioneered by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn at The University of Massachusetts, mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques are now employed by clinicians across the world in the treatment of mental health, alcohol, and substance use disorders. […]

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How DBT’s Radical Acceptance Can Help with Teen Trauma, Anxiety, Depression and Any Other Painful Feelings

Radical Acceptance is a skill in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) that helps people learn how to accept very painful events, people, or aspects of their life. It’s one of the skills found in the Distress Tolerance module of DBT. When Would You Use Radical Acceptance in DBT? You use the skill of Radical Acceptance when […]

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New Study Confirms DBT Effective Treatment for Teens who Self-Harm

A study published last July in the American Journal of Public Health revealed a troubling set of statistics about the prevalence of self-harming behaviors among adolescents in the United States. In a sample set of over 60,000 teens, researchers found that: More than 17% of adolescents reported engaging in self-harming behavior Roughly 11% of adolescent […]

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Can a Teen Be Diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder?

Diagnosing a teen with Borderline Personality Disorder, or BPD, is “tricky,” says Alyson Orcena, LMFT, Executive Clinical Director of Evolve Treatment Centers. That’s because some of its defining features are very common to adolescents in general. Emotional instability, moodiness, identity issues, and sensitivity to rejection are all fairly typical in teens. Historically, this is why […]

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The Academic Benefits of Arts Education in Schools

Public schools in the U.S. face a monumental task: educating an incredibly large and diverse population of students. A report from The National Center for Education Statistics shows that just over 50 million students enrolled in public schools in the fall of 2018. Of those students, 24 million were Caucasian, 7.8 million were African-American, 14 […]

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Diagnosing ADHD in First Graders

Over the past two decades, rates of ADHD diagnosis in children and adolescents have increased steadily. According to data released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in 2016, approximately 6.1 million children age 4-17 – 9.4% – received an ADHD diagnosis at some point during their lives. Of these children, 2.4 million age 6-11 […]

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Teens, Sleep, and ADHD

ADHD is one of the most commonly diagnosed developmental disorders in children and teenagers. The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), based on the 2016 National Survey on Children’s Health (NSCH), show the following prevalence of ADHD in children age 2-17 in 2016: 9.4% have received an ADHD diagnosis – that’s about […]

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News in Addiction Research: Oxytocin Reduces Alcohol Consumption

Across the country, people with alcohol and substance use disorders work with physicians, nurses, therapists, and counselors every day to overcome addiction. They learn about how addiction affects their bodies, brains, and emotions. They participate in coping skills groups, relapse prevention groups, and in some cases receive therapy for co-occurring disorders. The clinicians who work […]

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Comprehensive DBT vs. DBT-Informed Teen Treatment Centers: What’s the Difference?

Many teen treatment centers offer Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). But some treatment centers specify that they are “Comprehensive,” while others note that they are “DBT-informed.” What’s the difference? When Dr. Marsha Linehan developed Dialectical Behavior Therapy in the 1980s, she delineated four components of treatment. These four treatment delivery requirements were originally meant to be […]

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Depression in Boys: Challenges in Diagnosis

Not long ago, schools kept boys and girls separate. Many private schools still do. Take a quick look online and you’ll find a sizeable list of schools with names ending in “…School for Boys” or “…School for Girls.” While the notion of separate boy’s and girl’s schools seems archaic, their fouding principles are logical. At […]

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Common Sense Media: Teen Social Media Use 2012-2018

The researchers at Common Sense Media deliver again: this time, with an in-depth look at social media use among adolescents. The report “Social Media, Social Life: Teens Reveal Their Experiences” examines answers to salient questions that adults – including parents, educators, mental health professionals, and public policy makers –  want to know about teen social […]

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CRAFT: Family-Based Approaches to the Treatment-Resistant Adolescent

Intervention. Obviously a scary word. It’s also a word most of us associate with another relatively scary word. Or phrase, rather. Tough love. We all know what tough love is. Tough love is when you tell someone you care deeply about something they don’t want to hear. For example, tough love can be trivial, between […]

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Trends in Education: Social and Emotional Learning

Educating our Children: What Matters Most Parents, teachers, school administrators, and policy makers engage in a robust and ongoing debate about the primary goal of education in the U.S. Relevant stakeholders in the conversation seem to have come to a loose consensus in recent years. That consensus: the primary goal of education is to prepare […]

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Trends in Treatment: Brain Imaging and Recovery

Neuroimaging and Addiction Treatment: What It is and How It Can Help Modern medicine is like a miracle. Today we can treat diseases, injuries, and chronic conditions that not long ago would have left many of us dead or disabled. This is true for everything from cancer to heart disease to broken bones and torn […]

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How Therapists Can Help Parents Accept the Need for Teen Residential Treatment

Therapists who treat teenagers struggling with mental health problems, addiction, and/or substance abuse disorders tend to encounter resistance from their clients at some point during the therapeutic process. Typically, resistance comes from the individual in question – the teenager – but if you’re a therapist working with adolescents on these issues, be prepared: parents may […]

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Rates of Mental Health Symptoms and Substance Use in Santa Barabara High Schools

Teens in the Santa Barbara Unified School District (SBUSD) took a survey last year to gauge their rates of substance use and mental health issues. This survey, called the California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS), asked public school students statewide about a number of different issues in their lives: family connectedness, safety and crime at school, […]

Read More

Digital Self-Harm: What It Is and Why Teens Do It

Hannah Smith, fourteen years old, received waves of horrible, abusive messages on ASKfm, a social media site popular with teens. On August 6, 2013, she committed suicide. Her parents immediately blamed cyberbullies, until an investigation proved that the aggressive posts hadn’t come from peers: She wrote them herself. Self-Bullying Hannah is not the only one. […]

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What to Do When People Don’t Believe Your Depression is Real

You know you have depression. You might have been diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD). But what happens when other people minimize or discount your depression? What if they don’t believe you at all? Friends, family, peers, or even strangers may tell you that your depression isn’t real. They might say most people with depression […]

Read More

Palo Alto, CA: Mental Health and Suicide Statistics for Teens

Palo Alto has received considerable attention in recent years from media and mental health professionals concerned about its alarming rates of teen suicide. In this affluent Bay Area town, seven adolescents ended their own lives in the span of just ten years. And, over the past decade, there has been an unusual amount of teen […]

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