During the 2015/16 and 2016/17 period the Mental Health Foundation invested $120,000 in a two-year pilot project, the Youth Recovery Program, at Recovery Acres. Recovery Acres provides transitional housing as an opportunity for men to develop a productive and sustainable lifestyle, free from addiction
The Youth Recovery Program, as a joint project with Youth Empowerment and Support Services (YESS), aims to provide a continuum of care to younger men suffering from addiction and mental health problems. Homeless youth are typically the most underserved population.
Why this Program is Important
The gap between youth and adult mental services can be difficult to navigate emotionally and logistically for those accessing care; the uncertainty of being transferred to adult mental health services can be overwhelming, especially when taking into account the many other transitions associated with coming-of-age. Increasingly, there is an awareness of a need for transition services.1 A simple transfer or a poor transition for a young person with continuing needs could result in their withdrawal from service access; in fact, in as many as 60% of cases, youth disengage from services, and young men with high needs are the most likely to do so.2
Support from the Foundation
Our financial support made it possible for Recovery Acres to provide five beds exclusively for youth referred to them by YESS; 2 beds for 16 to 17 year olds and 3 beds for youth aged 18-25. Over the course of the two-year pilot 62 youth accessed the program and participated in a six month residential treatment program, learning Life Skills, Addiction Awareness, and Relapse Prevention, with the goal of graduating youth back into the community to live fulfilling, prosocial lives with balance and dignity.
“The impact this funding had on our clients and on our community can be seen every time a young man comes back to visit us post-graduation to tell us how well he is doing in school or how quickly he is moving up at his job site,” says the program’s executive director, Jeremiah Aherne. “Even the youth who do not successfully graduate from the program always gain some tools and insight that help them navigate their lives a little better.”