Hoag confronts youth mental issues with ASPIRE program

Families across Orange County are facing significant and increasing challenges with their adolescents. Little support exists for children and their parents moving through this fragile stage of development. For many families, unaddressed neurobehavioral challenges have become devastating catastrophes.

The Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute at Hoag launched a programmatic answer to this glaring community need: ASPIRE (After School Program: Intervention and Resiliency Education) is an intensive outpatient program for adolescents, ages 13-17, with primary mental health disorders and possible co-occurring substance abuse challenges. The program is evidence-based and outcomes driven, and guides teens and their families through an eight-week curriculum of skills-based training in stress management, resiliency, interpersonal communication, mental health and substance abuse education. 

The Hoag solution

ASPIRE promotes emotional wellness using a holistic approach built on education, training and active participation from teens and their families. ASPIRE provides a structured, supportive environment that teaches and trains healthy behaviors and show teens how to effectively regulate emotion, manage distress, and engage in healthy interpersonal relationships. The program offers uniquely structured treatment for adolescents with mental health conditions by providing:

  • After-school structure: ASPIRE provides structure and training after school hours – a time during which daily stresses and lack of supervision make young people especially prone to making poor choices.
  • Focus on hope, not mental illness: The focus of the program is to offer solutions and skills to provide hope and create a positive learning environment.
  • Development of life skills: Utilizing dialectical behavioral therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, ASPIRE engages the youth and their families in individual, group and family therapy sessions. Program activities are designed to teach practical coping strategies and allow participants to practice what they’ve learned in a supportive environment.
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