The Strength program is stronger than ever
Strengthening mental health services -
The supervisor of the province’s Strength Program says more young people are leaving the program ready to regain their lives.
The provincial government’s balanced 2018-19 operating budget includes a $32 million increase in spending for health and mental-health supports for Islanders of all ages.
Strength Program staff have recently received additional training in Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), which is effective in treating substance abuse and mental health disorders. There are four components of DBT: mindfulness, emotional regulation, interpersonal effectiveness and distress tolerance.
Strength offers a range of programming and supports - both residential and day treatment - for youth aged 15-24, and their families. The enhanced program will improve services for youth who experience substance abuse along with mental illness disorders. Clients are supported with up to 16 weeks of residential care, and 24 weeks of follow up aftercare with a strong focus on holistic services and community re-integration.
“We noticed big results since we shifted to this program,” said supervisor Tanya Goodwin.
Staff members are now trained to help clients who may be impulse and urge-driven to regulate their emotions and behaviours. Goodwin said the Strength Program is more intensive treatment than one-on-one counselling and people need to be ready for that.
“Most of our clients come to us ready for change,” she said. “They’ve hit a point where things aren’t going well and outpatient treatment isn’t working for them. All of our clients have mental health goals when they come here.”
Health and Wellness Minister Robert Mitchell is pleased to see the Strength Program helping Island youth recover from addiction and mental health issues.
“As a province, we are working collaboratively with health care providers to transform our mental health services so that Islanders get the care they need, when they need it. A lot of progress has been made to introduce programs like Strength that support recovery with tools and information that youth and their families need.”
“We teach them life skills they can use after Strength, that can help them transition back into the community,” Goodwin said.”Community support, including aftercare, is a critical piece of the Strength Program. The young people learn there are lots of things they can do to live a healthy balanced lifestyle, without using drugs or alcohol.
“There is a lot of pressure out there,” she said. “We teach them skills that allow them to handle that pressure effectively.”
Aftercare groups are available in Charlottetown and Summerside. Strength youth workers, youth addiction counselors, mental health therapists, nurse, teacher and occupational therapist are available to assist youth through the program and follow up.