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Hope. Second Chances. New Beginnings.

Focusing on adolescent mental health and well-being.

Behavioral Health Services for Boys Ages 8-11 Added at Red River Youth Academy

Boys unit grapic

Red River Youth Academy is pleased to announce the Sept. 1 opening of its new boys’ unit, offering residential behavioral health treatment to boys ages 8-11. The facility focuses on treating youth with severe anger, aggression, and defiance, and continues to provide services for adolescent males and females, ages 12-17.

“Expanding our program to 8- to 11-year-old boys offers more resources for families of boys with behavioral health conditions that require a higher level of treatment,” said Amy Steely, Red River Youth Academy CEO. Common behavioral health conditions treated at the facility include oppositional defiant disorder, intermittent explosive disorder, disruptive mood disregulation disorder, reactive attachment disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depressive disorders, and other mood disorders.

Located in Norman, Okla., Red River Youth Academy treats youth from across Oklahoma and surrounding states. Its treatment program includes individual, group, and family therapy; recreational activities; on-site school; and medication management. Staff includes licensed professionals from the disciplines of psychiatry, psychology, counseling, social work, nursing, dietary services, and special education. All staff are trained in trauma-informed and trauma-responsive care.

Red River Youth Academy is accredited by The Joint Commission and licensed by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. The facility accepts SoonerCare, private pay, and most insurance.

For more information, call 405-701-8530 or visit www.RedRiverYA.com.

 

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Insiders’ opinions about residential treatment at Red River Youth Academy

Continual feedback is an important part of the process improvement efforts at Red River Youth Academy. We value the opinions and feedback provided by our clients and their parents/caregivers at discharge from our program.

 

During the first quarter of this year, 46 parents and 51 clients completed satisfaction surveys at discharge.

 

  • 96 percent of clients agreed that they learned helpful coping skills during their treatment, and that they were very satisfied with the treatment they received.
  • 94 percent of clients agreed that they felt better at discharge than when admitted.
  • 93 percent of parents/guardians agreed that they were satisfied with the quality of care their child received, that their child’s therapist was accessible, and that staff were helpful and professional.
We always appreciate it when parents and caregivers leave us their heartfelt comments when their children complete our program. Here is what a few of them had to say:
 
“We feel that Red River is head and shoulders above the other places that (our son) has been to. We believe that he actually received the treatment and coping skills he needed to excel in life. Thank you for your help!”
 
“Compared to other places, I am happy to see that people at Red River care about the patients and the problems they have. They aren’t treating kids like another number or problem child.”
 
“Thank you for the care you have provided for my son. You all played an essential role in our lives during this time. I will never forget the support and care. Much gratitude.”

New Adolescent Female Unit Added at Red River Youth Academy

girls unit graphic for FBRed River Youth Academy is pleased to announce the opening of its new adolescent female unit, offering residential behavioral health treatment to girls 12-17. The facility focuses on treating youth with severe anger, aggression, and defiance, and continues to provide services for adolescent males. Red River will begin admitting adolescent females on April 3.

“We saw a great need in our state and decided to add treatment services for adolescent girls after receiving a growing number of calls from parents looking for help,” said Amy Steely, Red River Youth Academy CEO. Statistics from the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services show an increasing number of adolescent girls received mental health services over each of the past six years.

Located in Norman, Red River Youth Academy treats youth from across Oklahoma and surrounding states. Its treatment program includes individual, group, and family therapy; recreational activities; on-site school; and medication management.

The new adolescent female unit is housed in a separate building from the facility’s adolescent male unit. Staff includes licensed professionals from the disciplines of psychiatry, psychology, counseling, social work, nursing, dietary services, and special education. All staff are trained in trauma-informed and trauma-responsive care.

Red River Youth Academy is accredited by The Joint Commission and licensed by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. The facility accepts SoonerCare, private pay, and most insurance.

For more information, call 405-701-8530 or visit www.RedRiverYA.com.

 

Basquine named Clinical Director of Red River Youth Academy

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AJ Basquine, LPC, Clinical Director

Red River Youth Academy is pleased to announce the appointment of AJ Basquine, LPC, as clinical director. Basquine has been a member of the residential treatment center’s counseling staff since 2012, working with adolescent boys with severe anger, aggression, and defiant behaviors. He has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a master’s degree in Human Relations with an emphasis in counseling from the University of Oklahoma. He completed a counseling internship in residential treatment for adolescent boys at Varangon Academy. He also has experience in outpatient counseling.

 

“We are excited to bring AJ’s positive attitude and energy to our administrative team,” said Amy Steely, LPC, CEO of Red River Youth Academy. “AJ brings not only knowledge of our systems to the position, but he has also been instrumental in assisting with process improvements to our clinical department.  Over the last two years, he has taken on additional duties to improve the treatment program at Red River.  AJ has also demonstrated a strong dedication to becoming an advocate to our clients as well as his team members.”

Basquine’s mother worked in mental health, and he says he has always had a desire to help people one-on-one. “I didn’t know what to expect about working at a residential facility for adolescent boys with severe behavioral issues, but I found that I liked the crisis management aspect of it and being able to be a strong role model for young men.”

What Basquine finds most rewarding about working with adolescents is helping clients go from telling their story to deciding what their story will be. “We get to work with boys and their families starting from severed ties to reconnecting and rebuilding their relationships; to understand the hurt and start to restore,” he said. “You have to have a heart for it. You don’t give up.”

As clinical director, Basquine looks forward to working with Red River Youth Academy’s interdisciplinary team in continually enhancing the facility’s therapeutic program and providing hope, second chances, and new beginnings for adolescent boys and their families.

What residents think about their care

Earlier this month we shared results from our 2016 parent/guardian surveys, providing a snapshot of their level of satisfaction with the quality of adolescent behavioral health care and services provided at Red River Youth Academy. Our residents’ feedback is equally important, and we end the month with highlights from our 2016 resident surveys.

  • 97% of residents agreed that they understand the importance of following their discharge plan.
  • 97% agreed that their therapist responded to and addressed their needs.
  • 93% agreed that they knew their treatment plan goals.
  • 93% agreed that they felt better at discharge than when admitted.
  • 91% agreed that overall, they were very satisfied with their treatment.

In addition to surveying residents at discharge, we also conduct monthly Client Advisory Board meetings, where two residents from each of three units meet with our staff and provide helpful feedback about our program and facility, and offer their ideas for enhancing the resident experience.

In 2017, we look forward to continuing to enhance our therapeutic program and further our mission of hope, second chances, and new beginnings for our residents and their families.

*Data is from 222 surveys completed by Red River Youth Academy residents throughout 2016.

The results are in: a snapshot of parents’ satisfaction in their children’s care at Red River Youth Academy

Throughout 2016 we surveyed residents’ parents and guardians about the quality of care and service provided at our behavioral health treatment facility. Here is a snapshot of some of the key results and parents’ feedback.

94% of parents/guardians agreed that they were satisfied with the care given to their child.

“We felt (our son) got more substantive treatment here than any place he had been at before. We especially appreciated the emphasis of a patient’s responsibility to engage in his treatment plan.”

“I am pleased with Red River. (Our therapist) was great and has helped me and my son get where we need to be. I appreciate each and every staff member. Everyone has helped both of us.”

“Red River helped with my son’s condition and made an impressive accomplishment. (The staff) was very professional with communication, friendly, and helpful. (Our therapist) was excellent at his work with (my son). (He) pushed for success and made an improvement with (my son). I am happy with our outcome at Red River.”

99% agreed that their child’s therapist was accessible and kept them informed of incidents and progress.

“(Our therapist) was very helpful throughout the process. He was always available and he kept me informed about everything.”

96% agreed that the staff were helpful and professional.

“(Our therapist) is very intuitive. She understood (my son). She was able to cut through the bull. Everybody was helpful and caring. Staff was very nice during Saturday visits. It was very heartwarming to see that everybody was caring. (Our therapist) is great!”

“(Our therapist) made us feel comfortable and I trusted him with (my son) 100 percent. He was the reason I felt comfortable with my son staying here and I trusted his advice. I truly felt that he cared about (my son). I always knew that if he said everything was okay that it was the truth.”

96% agreed that they felt their child was safe.  

“I was very impressed with the treatment my son received. I loved that the staff kept me very informed on his treatment and behavior. I would highly recommend this place to any parent that has the same behavior problems with their children and are looking for a safe and well-designed program for their child.”

95% said they would be willing to refer others to our facility for behavioral health treatment.

“I would recommend Red River to other parents for their son. I really believed that (our therapist) really helped my boy – made him aware and how to cope with his anger. The staff was always ready to listen to me; they kept me informed about my boy and I’m pleased!”

“(Our therapist) and the other staff were very professional and responsive to my inquiries. I was updated on all changes and situations. (Their) knowledge and professionalism was greatly appreciated during this process. I highly recommend Red River Youth Academy.”

In 2017, we look forward to continuing to enhance our therapeutic program and further our mission of hope, second chances, and new beginnings for young men and their families.

Data used in the article is from 215 surveys completed by parents and guardians of Red River Youth Academy residents throughout 2016.

Seven happy holiday tips for families of children with behavioral and emotional disorders

The holidays are traditionally a time for families and friends to come together for quality time and celebration, however it can be a time of family discord and challenge for parents caring for a child struggling with a behavioral or emotional disorder. A sudden angry outburst, mood swings, unexpected aggression toward another, or defiance can turn what should be a time of peace and joy into a time of stress and discomfort. The good news is there are positive measures parents and caregivers can take to minimize the chances for conflict and set the stage for happy holidays.

  1. Consider your child’s underlying emotional and social needs when making plans. You may be pulled in many directions, but make time to spend with your child. Be in tune with their emotional state and what they need.
  2. Identify potential triggers of stress, anxiety, or anger and prepare an action plan with the child for dealing with situations that may arise. The root of your child’s anxiety or conflict may be another person, being in a certain space, or participating in a particular activity. If a certain visiting family member is a trigger, plan opportunities for your child to participate in activities separate from that person, use place cards at the dining table to seat them apart from one another, or do not include that person in your plans. If larger crowds trigger anxiety, arrange in advance a quiet area as an escape.
  3. Review with your child the coping skills they have worked on to help calm themselves and maintain self-control. Talk with them about recognizing feelings before they boil over into behaviors. Plan a signal your child can use to let you know that anxiety or emotions are starting to rise.
  4. Discuss with your family goals and expectations for the holidays and when attending or hosting special events.
  5. Avoid power struggles with your child. Focus on working together to find a solution, rather than prevailing in a disagreement. A solution that evolves from compromise will make the child feel as they have gained something and will limit additional conflict.
  6. Plan distractions. Have activities prepared to distract your child when stress levels rise and to draw their focus to something else.
  7. Plan escape routes. Be ready to remove your child or the trigger source from a stressful situation or environment.

Our mission at Red River Youth Academy focuses on hope, second chances, and new beginnings. We wish you and your loved ones a happy, healthy, and peaceful holiday season.

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to substitute for professional mental health advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your psychiatrist, psychologist, licensed mental health professional, or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a mental health condition.

Understanding Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder

Continuing our series on adolescent behavioral and emotional disorders treated at Red River Youth Academy, this week our focus is on disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD). It is common for youth to have temper tantrums and be angry, irritable, moody, and upset on occasion. However, when these behaviors are severe, persistent, and unusual for the child’s developmental age, you may be dealing with DMDD.

The characteristics of DMDD, as described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), include:

  • Severe, recurrent temper outbursts that are grossly out of proportion in intensity or duration to the situation. Outbursts can include verbal rage and/or physical aggression toward people or property.
  • Outbursts occur, on average, three or more times per week for one year or more.
  • Outbursts are inconsistent with the child’s developmental level.
  • The child’s mood between outbursts is persistently irritable or angry most of the day, nearly every day, and is observed by parents, teachers, peers, or others.
  • The child has trouble functioning in more than one place, with symptoms present in at least two settings (home, school, with peers, etc.) for 12 or more months.
  • Symptoms must be severe in at least one of the above settings without a gap of three or more consecutive months.
  • The onset of symptoms are evident before age 10.

 

DMDD can be very disturbing and disabling for youth and their families. For the youth, it can lead to lost friends, strained relationships, suspension or expulsion from school, difficulty participating in activities, and decreased quality of life. Increasing levels of aggression create dangerous situations for the family, peers, and the youth. Experiencing DMDD in childhood also increases the risk of developing depression or anxiety disorders as an adult.

DMDD was a new addition to the DSM-5 to replace the diagnosis of childhood bipolar disorder. The diagnosis should not be made for the first time before age 6 or after age 18. Symptoms associated with DMDD, such as outbursts, aggression, and moodiness are also present with other mental health disorders, such as oppositional defiant disorder and depression, and a child may have more than one overlapping disorder. It is important to have a qualified mental health professional conduct a comprehensive evaluation to determine an accurate diagnosis.

Treatment for DMDD should be structured for the youth’s individual needs and may include psychotherapy, family training, and medications. Parents and caregivers should work closely with the therapist and care team to make sure their child is receiving the right treatment for their unique needs.

The content of this article is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to substitute for professional mental health advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your psychiatrist, psychologist, licensed mental health professional, or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a mental health condition.

Giving Thanks and Celebrating

Today and every day, we are thankful for the amazing staff at Red River Youth Academy who make a difference in young men’s lives every day. It takes a special kind of person to work in residential adolescent behavioral health. You need to have patience, flexibility, empathy, compassion, a calm demeanor, good listening skills, resilience in dramatic situations, and a desire to help youth overcome their struggles and develop skills for a healthy, successful life.

We train our staff in effective verbal de-escalation techniques and trauma-responsive care so they understand how past traumatic events in a youth’s life have a role in the development of behavioral health symptoms such as anger, aggression, and defiance, and are equipped to respond in an effective and therapeutic manner. They recognize that all behavior has meaning in context and there are needs behind a youth’s behaviors.

The staff at Red River Youth Academy believes in hope, second chances, and new beginnings for our residents. How does this translate to young men’s experiences and outcomes? Our residents explain it best:

“He helps me with all of my problems and makes me happy. He has done all he can and more to help me feel confident about myself.”

“She helped me turn my whole life of negativity around.”

“He’s helped me by trying to be positive with me, which he has been since I have been here. And now I can control my anger and aggression.”

“She has helped me with finding new coping skills so I can use them in better ways than before. Also by helping me with changing my life.”

“He’s like a brother. He keeps me on track. He wants to see me succeed in life. He truly cares about me. And he treats me like a son. And he’s funny.”

“He is there when I need him and he is a pretty cool guy.”

thanksgiving-meal-2016-jpg-for-social-mediaOur residents picked the menu for Red River Youth Academy’s annual Thanksgiving feast this year. They are feasting on turkey, ham, dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, broccoli cheese casserole, macaroni and cheese, corn on the cob, deviled eggs, rolls, pink fluff, and a variety of pies and cheesecakes. We think they did a great job helping plan our meal!

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