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Stanford Children’s Health joins intensive outpatient care program for teens with severe mental health challenges

RISE is a comprehensive Dialectical Behavior Therapy Intensive Outpatient Program for adolescents ages 14 to 18. Parents and caretakers will be involved in the treatment.

For release: August 20, 2018

STANFORD, Calif. – Stanford Children’s Health announced the launch of a joint program to offer intensive outpatient therapy to teens ages 14 to 18 who are struggling with suicidal thoughts and behaviors or self-harm, as well as severe mental health challenges. Now open, the program is called RISE and it is being offered through a collaboration with Children’s Health Council (CHC) in Palo Alto. Program co-lead Michele Berk, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine, brings extensive research and clinical expertise in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), a specialized intervention for individuals with suicidal and/or self-harming behaviors, to the program. Berk and other Stanford experts have joined CHC’s existing DBT intensive outpatient program (IOP), which launched in May 2017.

According to Antonio Hardan, MD, chief of child and adolescent psychiatry at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, the program is filling a crucial gap in providing a comprehensive continuum of care for teens facing mental health challenges.

“The availability of an IOP is critical for teens with different levels of severity of mental health problems,” said Hardan, who is also a professor of psychiatry at Stanford School of Medicine. “Stanford and CHC have complementary expertise that make this program truly valuable for patients and families.”

The treatment covers the often overlooked but essential “middle ground” between weekly outpatient therapy and hospitalization and provides support for patients who are transitioning between the two. The program also offers a critical step-down option for teens who have been discharged and are returning home from psychiatric inpatient or residential stays.

As Director of DBT Programming for RISE, Berk joins other Stanford faculty and licensed clinicians from CHC who were trained through the Linehan Institute (Marsha Linehan, PhD, is the developer of DBT) to provide all components of a comprehensive DBT program for adolescents. The program is housed at the CHC campus in Palo Alto, where participants attend a 12-week course for four days each week after school. After-hours phone coaching is available 24/7. The program includes individual therapy, a multifamily skills group and family therapy. Medication management is also provided by psychiatrists and Stanford child and adolescent psychiatry fellows for the duration of the program.

According to Berk, who was one of the principal investigators of a large clinical trial of DBT that was recently published in JAMA Psychiatry, DBT is currently the only well-established evidence-based treatment for decreasing self-harming behavior in youth. Hence, Berk says the collaboration between CHC and Stanford Children’s Health provides “gold standard” treatment for these youth. In addition to treating youth who have attempted suicide or engaged in self-harming behaviors, the program will also treat adolescents with severe symptoms of anxiety or depression, suicidal thoughts, or significant decrease in functioning at school and at home (e.g., marked decline in grades, missing school) for whom weekly or biweekly outpatient therapy is not effective for symptom reduction and improved functioning.

A hallmark of DBT for adolescents and the RISE program is its inclusion of parents and guardians in treatment. Twice weekly, parents and guardians join their teens in a multifamily skills group, where they learn and practice the skills necessary to manage the teens’ symptoms.

“It's critical that parents and guardians learn the skills and feel empowered to support their teens through a time of crisis,” said Dr. Ramsey Khasho, chief clinical officer at CHC. “We are excited and proud to have developed a joint IOP with Stanford Children’s Health to provide more teens and families with the best care possible.”

Hardan agreed, “Through CHC’s experience in the development and implementation of intensive mental health and academic programs and Stanford’s expertise in conducting research and providing care for adolescents with suicidal behavior, this program can be transformative for local adolescents who are in need of this level of care.”

RISE stands for reaching interpersonal- and self-effectiveness. The acronym, which reflects some of the program’s primary goals, was created by teens who have completed the program.

The RISE program is accepting referrals. Call (650) 688-3625 or email to refer a patient.

Media Contact:

Samantha Beal
(650) 498-7056

About Stanford Children’s Health

Stanford Children’s Health, with Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford at its center, is the Bay Area’s largest health care system exclusively dedicated to children and expectant mothers. Our network of care includes more than 65 locations across Northern California and more than 85 locations in the U.S. Western region. As part of Stanford Medicine, a leading academic health system that also includes Stanford Health Care and Stanford University School of Medicine, we are cultivating the next generation of medical professionals and are at the forefront of scientific research to improve children’s health outcomes around the world. We are a nonprofit organization committed to supporting the community through meaningful outreach programs and services and providing necessary medical care to families, regardless of their ability to pay. Discover more at