In the new mental health care system, Pomegranate focuses on both psychiatric and physical health care to address the whole person. An integral part of behavioral health treatment ensures that we assess the physical health status of all adolescents, that there are medical monitoring protocols in place for adolescents taking antipsychotic medication, that each adolescent has a primary care provider, and that there is an effective mechanism in place for communication between behavioral health and primary care providers.
“When an adolescent is admitted to Pomegranate Health Systems, we look at and evaluate his or her complete medical history,’ says Kris Brown, RN-BC, MS, Nursing Director. “Seventeen percent of teens have a chronic health condition and 12% have two or more chronic conditions (which could be a learning disability, depression, autism, developmental delay, asthma, diabetes, hearing or vision problems). There is a very real connection between physical and emotional health. There is also a high degree of trauma in patients receiving care for mental and behavioral health disorders.”
“Adolescent psychiatry is not just medication management. Medical research into both biochemistry and the brain is identifying biological and genetic components to mental illness we weren’t aware of even five years ago. Pomegranate’s treatment includes DBT- informed care, EMDR informed-treatment, and trauma-informed care in addition to physical health and medication evaluation.”
Then, there are issues of substance abuse. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse released a study which showed seventy-five percent of high school students have used addictive substances. Alcohol is the preferred choice. The study, titled ‘Adolescent Substance Use: America’s #1 Public Health Problem’ states that “46% of high school students are currently using an addictive substance, and 1 out of 3 of these students meets the medical criteria for addiction.
Forty-six percent of children under 18 live in a household where smoking, excessive drinking, misuse of prescription drugs or use of illegal drugs occurs. Some consequences include teen pregnancy, psychosis, impaired brain function, criminal involvement, and death”.
The SAMSHA report cites statistics that “94% of primary care physicians in a study conducted in 2000 failed to diagnose substance use disorders properly.” The same study found about 19% of teens smoked cigarettes on at least one day during the 30 days before the survey. Pomegranate is certified by ODADAS, Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services.
The SAMHSA report, ‘Leading Change’ says, ‘Half of all lifetime cases of mental and substance use disorders begin by age 14 and three-fourths by age 24.’ The same report cites statistics that ‘More than 6 in 10 U.S. youth have been exposed to violence within the past year, including witnessing a violent act, assault with a weapon, sexual victimization, child maltreatment, and dating violence. Nearly 1 in 10 was injured.’ (from Strategic Initiative #2: Trauma and Justice).
Then there is diet and exercise. Fifty-six percent of the teens attend physical education classes; but 12% are considered obese and 28% slightly to very overweight. About 4% of teens vomited or took laxatives to lose weight during the 30 days before the survey. Some 26% of high school students felt so sad and hopeless they stopped doing usual activities during the 12 months before the survey.
Pomegranate’s CPSTs focus their curriculum and training on healthy behaviors, identifying, changing and growing in resilience while therapists lead group and individual sessions. Menus are developed by a registered dietician, while nurses and youth leaders provide a watchful eye- as a concerned parent might.
‘This is intensive therapy, in a highly-focused therapeutic environment,’ adds Kris. ‘It’s so important to help our kids learn to heal, hope and cope again through mental and physical issues so they have a chance to become resilient adults . . . Pomegranate strives to utilize a coordinated, multi-disciplinary, holistic approach to facilitate both mental and physical health.”
[Photo credit: teen girl on bed from Uppercut images/Superstock 1779r-22662]