JF&CS behavioral health program opens enrollment for adolescents

Cognitive Enhancement Therapy (CET), an evidence-informed treatment program for adolescents with recent-onset schizophrenia and other forms of serious mental illness, is currently enrolling new clients ages 14-19 for the fall. The program, funded through a grant from the St. Louis County Children’s Service Fund, is run by Jewish Family and Children’s Service (JF&CS), and is open to adolescents who live in the county, at no cost.

Adolescents who enter the program usually have poorly developed skills in the areas of social awareness, cognitive processing, memory and concentration, and may also have experienced being the victims of bullying. Feedback from participants and their parents is quite positive and points to specific improvement in the teens including the ability to interact wisely with others, understanding other’s points of view and improvement in functioning in school and vocational settings. The parents have reported their children “truly enjoy” the program, that it provides “a great outlet and opportunity to improve self-esteem”

CET includes adolescents with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder or bipolar illness; adolescents who are on the high end of the autism spectrum; or adolescents with some symptoms of mental illness without a definitive diagnosis presenting with social withdrawal, loss of interest in school or work, deterioration in hygiene and grooming and unusual behavior.

“CET provides a treatment intervention that is not fraught with the side effects of the medications that are typically given to adolescents who have early symptoms of schizoaffective disorder, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder,” says Steve Meinert, team leader for the CET program. “Instead, CET may provide opportunities for participants to increase core cognitive and social cognitive skills needed to help prevent the downward spiral of debilitating symptoms that are often a part of these diagnoses.”

Anat Cohen at The Sheldon

For further details or to make a referral, call the JF&CS intake coordinator at 314-993-1000. JF&CS encourages parents, educators or anyone with interest to call for information if uncertain about making a referral. Other services offered under funding of the St. Louis County Children’s fund are school-based consultation services, learning and diagnostic assessments, school-based prevention services, child and adolescent psychiatry services, and child abuse prevention services.