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Jackson E-Newsletter Articles


When Going Home Isn't The Best Option For Kids

A couple months ago, Dusty, a former patient at the Adolescent Center, was faced with a difficult challenge. At 15, he came to the Adolescent Center for treatment for his marijuana addiction. Over the next few months he did a lot of work with his therapist and became a "senior peer" at the Center. When he was ready to graduate, Dusty realized he wouldn't have a support system at home like he did at the Adolescent Center. “I just wasn't ready to go back,” he says.
Lack of Support System
Dusty's situation is typical for many of our teen patients at the Adolescent Center. They successfully completed their drug and alcohol addiction treatment with us but still need a strong support system and recovery-centered environment in order to maintain sobriety. Many of our patients go back to unstable, unsafe environments where they will not receive the support they need. Sadly, many of them will return to homes where one or more family members are in active addictions themselves. “A teenager newly in recovery would find it extremely difficult to maintain sobriety in those kinds of stressful situations,” says Traci Merchant, Program Director of Adolescent Services. “We needed to provide something for these kids that would give them a better chance.”
Freedom and Opportunity at Discovery
Jackson’s response was opening the Discovery Unit, an extended residential program located in the same facility as the Adolescent Center. At the Discovery Unit, patients are given more freedom and flexibility to start utilizing the skills they learned in treatment, but in an environment that is supportive to their recovery. Each patient meets regularly with Discovery Unit therapist Shawn VanFossen, participates in community AA/NA meetings, and attends regular community and group meetings with other Discovery Unit patients. “The whole idea of Discovery is that we keep these kids in their recovery centered group for a little while longer but give them opportunities for finding employment or going back to school. We keep them safe while practicing the skills they just learned in treatment.”
Patients at the Adolescent Center are screened for possible entry into the Discovery Unit on a case-by-case basis. Currently there are three patients residing at the unit with a capacity for ten. For more information about the program, or information on referrals, please contact Shawn at 712-293-4860.
Photos of a patient room and group room (with Clinical Coordinator, Shawn VanFossen)