Day program aids troubled teens

January 18, 1994|By Sherry Joe | Sherry Joe,Staff Writer

Taylor Manor Hospital in Ellicott City today is to show off what it says is the county's first intensive day program for teen-agers with depression and other mental disorders, at an open house from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Begun in November, the psychiatric partial-hospitalization program is designed for teens who need intensive therapy but not full hospitalization, or those in need of a transition from hospitalization to outpatient care.

It is aimed at youngsters ages 12 through 17 with emotional or behavioral problems such as anxiety, depression and family conflict.

In some cases, hospital officials say, the youngsters' problems are so severe that they attempted suicide or became involved in substance abuse before seeking treatment.

"It isn't just a set of mild problems," said Barbara Merke, coordinator of partial-hospitalization programs at the hospital, an 87-year-old private psychiatric facility.

The outpatient program is "just a step below hospitalization," she added.

"Some of the kids are fragile," said Marta Chaney, clinical supervisor at the hospital. "We can solidify the gains they've already made."

Two months ago, Oakview Treatment Center began a similar psychiatric partial-hospitalization program for adults at its Columbia outpatient facility.

Taylor Manor decided to concentrate on teens because it already offers some programs for troubled youngsters. "Adolescent inpatient programming is very strong at the hospital," Ms. Merke said.

Its new partial-hospitalization program features small groups of eight to 10 young adults who learn a variety of skills, ranging from how to cope with stress to how to manage their money.

Patients usually attend a series of group and individual therapy sessions for an average of two to four weeks. Classes are taught at the hospital by a certified teacher.

Fees include $200 for a psychiatric evaluation and admission, and $154 for a full day in the program. Officials say the program is covered by most insurance plans.

Once teens complete the program, they continue to see an outpatient therapist, Ms. Merke said.

Officials say they already have seen progress with the 13 teens who have taken part so far.

For example, many teens in the program have difficulty expressing their emotions, especially with adults. But with the help and encouragement of their peers in group therapy sessions, some young people are willing to articulate their feelings, share advice, and listen to criticism, program leaders said.

"They'll confront one another," Ms. Merke said of participants. "They bring an objectivity to it that we could not have."

In addition to the partial-hospitalization program, Taylor Manor in the next few months plans to start a number of other programs aimed at teens and young adults.

They include a therapeutic group home for teens; an after-school program for youngsters who have substance abuse and emotional problems; and a 24-hour respite care program for teens who need a break from a crisis at home.

Taylor Manor is located at 4100 College Ave. in Ellicott City. Further information is available by calling 465-3322.

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