What to expect in the Teen Mental Health Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)?

The program includes evidence-based methods. Our IOP utilizes one of the most efficient techniques to treat depression and anxiety. The program provides psycho-education to parents and adolescents about how to cope with mental health issues such as hopelessness, anxiety, and depression. During group sessions, adolescents will learn about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Mentalization Based Therapy (MBT), Mindfulness, life skills, and music therapy in a fun and positive atmosphere. The curriculum helps adolescents develop awareness, and make connections between their symptoms and their maladaptive responses. Families will learn healthy communication techniques to improve their relationships with their children and help them to get better by understanding depression and anxiety.

The program includes 2 groups a day, one individual session per week, and one medication management visit per week. In addition to these 3 services, the teens’ program offers customized family sessions with parents and with or without patient, and one treatment plan meeting with parents every two weeks. Parents are required to attend the weekly parent training and the teens-parents group each week. The patient’s therapist will assist the family to get additional resources regarding schools, extra-curricular activities, or connect with other professionals when needed. The effectiveness of the treatment is dependent on the level of engagement between both the patients and parents. The program is most effective when parents /caregivers consistently participate in the weekly sessions.

Teen Mental Health IOP Schedule

The IOP SAP takes places 3 times a week, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 3:30pm to 6:30pm for 8 weeks.

Example of the Schedule

3:30pm – 4:00pm

Check-in/ Snacks/ Daily survey

4:00pm – 5:00 pm

MBT (Teens Group)

5:00pm – 5:15pm


5:15pm – 6:30pm


Challenges Families and Teens Face with Mental Health Disorders.

Every day more children, adolescents and families are becoming impacted by depression or anxiety. The rates for depression and anxiety are increasing in the youth population. The suicide rate keeps increasing all over the world. In the USA, suicide is the second leading cause of death among ages of 10 to 24 and has become an imminent health problem (CDC, 2014).

  • Suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death for ages 10-24. (2017 CDC WISQARS)
  • Suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death for college-age youth and ages 12-18. (2017 CDC WISQARS)
  • More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease, COMBINED (The Jason Foundation, 2018).
  • Suicide claims more than 100 young adults each week and roughly 1 in 12 young people in our nation attempt suicide each year (The Jason Foundation, 2018).

The suicide rate for adolescents (age range 10 to 24 years) in Santa clara County is higher than the California rate (5.4 per 100,000 versus 5.3 per 100,000) (CDC, 2014).

  • 11.4% of the population aged 12 to 17 is diagnosed with a major depressive episode which represents 2.8 million adolescents in the U.S. in 2014 (
  • Mental Illness is the most common primary diagnosis for hospital stay in CA in 2014 for the youth population 17 and younger at the discharge (California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development)

Youth who do not feel like they are being cared for and who do not feel a sense of connectedness to their communities, schools, and families, are likely to develop feelings of low self-esteem that in turn contributes to their depressed mood, feelings of hopelessness and thus, suicidal thoughts.

Parents and teens can be at a loss when the latter suffers from hopelessness, anxiety, or depression. Many times, the child won’t show external symptoms until the symptoms become too hard to overcome. Teens can start feeling low energy, have poor sleep or appetite, have negative thoughts, don’t feel like spending time with friends or family or they feel too anxious to go to school because they have been bullied or they worry about their grades. Teens don’t always have the tools to recognize their symptoms and for many reasons they don’t call for help. When the symptoms are becoming out of control teens and parents may become overwhelmed and they don’t know what to do to get help. Consequently, today’s youth are in need of extra guidance and support in the mental health field.

What is anxiety or depression?

The American Psychological Association (APA) defines anxiety as “an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure.”

Anxiety is a normal and often healthy emotion. However, when a person regularly feels disproportionate levels of anxiety, it might become a medical disorder.

Anxiety disorders form a category of mental health diagnoses that lead to excessive nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worry.

These disorders alter how a person processes emotions and behave, also causing physical symptoms. Mild anxiety might be vague and unsettling, while severe anxiety may seriously affect day-to-day living.

Anxiety disorders affect 40 million people in the United States. It is the most common group of mental illnesses in the country. However, only 36.9 percent of people with an anxiety disorder receive treatment.

Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working.

Depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include:

  • Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
  • Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Loss of energy or increased fatigue
  • Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., hand-wringing or pacing) or slowed movements and speech (actions observable by others)
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Symptoms must last at least two weeks for a diagnosis of depression.