Click here to watch a series of videos that provide additional insights into the benefits of The Youth Center at Northwest Community Hospital, the only private residential substance abuse program for young people in the Chicago area.
It's a mother's worst nightmare: Her son, once a model teenager, becomes sullen, withdrawn. He loses friends and gains undesirable new ones. His grades slip. Everything spirals. And then he is arrested for drug possession.
For Jeanne, that nightmare became all too real. In the winter of 2010, her son became involved with drugs, culminating in his being expelled from school and arrested on the same day. It was, in Jeanne's words, a wake-up call. He needed help.
Luckily, Jeanne had heard about The Youth Center at Northwest Community Hospital, which is the only private residential addiction treatment program for adolescents in the Chicago area.
According to center substance abuse counselor Nikki Cornelius, there are four levels of drug and alcohol abuse treatment available to area adolescents aged 12 to 18:
Within days of a counseling session, Jeanne's son was admitted to the inpatient program. "He was really receptive to going," she says, "because he knew he needed help and just didn't know how to change. When he got there, it took some time for him to comprehend what was going on. But once he was immersed in the program, it was amazing." In fact, he liked the program and staff so much that when it came time to transition to the outpatient phase, he chose to stay with NCH's program, even though it was an hour away from the family's home and another program was closer.
And while Jeanne's son was the primary recipient of care, The Youth Center also focused on Jeanne's needs through its family-centered approach. "Family involvement is by far one of the most important aspects of what we deal with," Cornelius says. "Parent support and participation is huge. Because we really need parents to be onboard to set appropriate limits, a lot of our program is geared toward parent education. So, we have weekly family sessions and we also have family programming three times a week."
For Jeanne, The Youth Center was a blessing. "It saved my son's life," she says. "I'm proud of his recovery. He's proud of his recovery, too. It's a whole new world."