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Fulfilling the Promise: Building a Center of Excellence in Youth and Young Adult Mental Health


Image of Aspire Poster Painted

El Camino Hospital developed and launched ASPIRE (After-School Program Interventions and Resiliency Education), an intensive outpatient program for high school students experiencing significant depression or anxiety and at risk of harming themselves, after a shocking cluster of teen suicides in Silicon Valley. Originally piloted with an allocation from El Camino Hospital Foundation, ASPIRE continues to meet observed needs in the community with the support of contributions to the Fulfilling the Promise fundraising initiative and Scrivner Challenge. Here is a progress report.

  • Additional capacity enabled ASPIRE to admit and treat more teens, ameliorating the growing waiting list that had caused significant distress to families and staff.
  • Support from our community continues to provide scholarships to teens whose families cannot cover the full cost of care.
  • The ASPIRE curriculum was accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) last year and all regional high schools, including the Palo Alto Unified School District, now provide academic credit to students who complete the program.
  • The ASPIRE middle school program launched in April 2016. The 12-week curriculum focuses on protection and safety centering on technology use, healthy habits, and the parent-child relationship. The aim is to reach children earlier to help parents and students develop the respectful relationship and resiliency skills that will help them better navigate the coming stresses of the high school years and beyond.
  • The Transition Age Youth (TAY) program will launch this summer. It is designed for high school graduates ages 18-25, who cannot launch, are floundering without the structure of college or struggling to stay enrolled, and wrestling with anxiety, anger, impulsivity, suicidal thoughts and self-medication.
  • Hoag Hospital (Newport Beach), which is part of the St. Joseph/Providence Health System, has signed an agreement to lease the ASPIRE program from El Camino Hospital, and will explore further expansion of ASPIRE to multiple sites in Southern California.
  • Revenue from the Hoag ease agreement will be used to fund a multi-year adolescent treatment effectiveness research study to review the outcome results of patients who enroll and complete the program. This research has the potential to add groundbreaking new information to the available literature on dialectical behavioral therapy for adolescents in an intensive outpatient program model.
    Image of Mary Scrivner Quote about Aspire Program