The old saying goes that, “If March comes in like a lion, it goes out like a lamb.” But Texas-based Phoenix House Texas switched up the saying, going out of March with a lion’s share of a grant — $100,000 to be exact, thanks to The Upswing Fund for Adolescent Mental Health.
And the timing couldn’t have been better. As Phoenix House Texas CEO Bart Loewen explained, “Increased stress, such as we have experienced during the pandemic, can lead to increased alcohol and substance abuse. The National Council for Behavioral Health reported that the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the nation’s mental health, particularly for young people, has created a 52% increase in demand for mental health and addiction treatment services. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), younger adults and racial/ethnic minorities have ‘experienced disproportionately worse mental health outcomes, increased substance use, and elevated suicidal ideation’ as a result of COVID-19.
“This timely contribution will allow us to cast a wider net for providing effective treatment to uninsured and under-insured clients. Equally important, it will keep us on course to maintain our track record of successful treatment completion rates, well above the national average throughout the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Phoenix House Texas COO Drew Dutton reported that the “higher-than-normal treatment success rate” is due to the I Can model.
According to Drew, “In its basic form, I Can is positive experiential treatment that meets the adolescent brain where it is when a young person enters treatment. I Can is individualized and is based on well-established research demonstrating that adolescents respond best to positive reinforcement. We help teens build better versions of themselves in the present.”
Seeded by Pivotal Ventures, an investment and incubation company created by Melinda Gates to advance social progress in the United States, “The Upswing Fund for Adolescent Mental Health is a collaborative fund focusing on the mental health and well-being of adolescents who are of color and/or LGBTQ+. Created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had a devastating impact on young people across the United States, The Upswing Fund provides critical resources to front-line organizations that provide the services that young people rely on. In addition, the Fund supports efforts to address key systemic challenges in the adolescent mental health system such as stigma around seeking mental health support.”
* Graphic/photo courtesy of Phoenix House Texas