by Mary Beth Schoening and Stephanie Briody, co-founders of Behavioral Health Innovators and RecoveryBuild.
Both of us have family members who have been affected by the disease of addiction and understand first-hand the need for programs for teens and young adults in recovery on Cape Cod.
We held a Youth Summit in May 2017 for over 80 students from schools across Cape Cod. It was at this event that we heard “loud and clear” there is no safe space for teens to talk about drug and alcohol issues and they are extremely worried about their friends who are using substances.
Even when families decide to send their child to treatment, they find there are no adolescent in-patient treatment centers for teens on Cape Cod. When teens return to the Cape after receiving treatment elsewhere, there is no recovery support for teens after school, on weekends or during school vacations. And behavioral health providers are spread way too thin, with wait times of 2-3 months to get an appointment with a counselor.
We formed a committee to explore opening a Recovery High School on Cape Cod (there are five public recovery high schools in MA) and continue to seek the Community’s support for such a project. It was through our research on Recovery High Schools that we learned about Alternative Peer Groups (APGs) and their success.
We decided to “start small” and create an APG (an adjunct program to a Recovery High School) that offers after-school recovery support for teens with substance use challenges.
In April 2018 RecoveryBuild APG Cape Cod was launched for teens 13-18.
Our aim is to expand APG services and activities and broaden our outreach. We have set a goal that 80% of teens in the program maintain sobriety, creating a model for teen peer recovery that can be scaled out to every town on the Cape and beyond.
RecoveryBuild is a program of Behaviorial Health Innovators, dedicated to combine human compassion with innovation to think differently about behavioral health education, screening, intervention and treatment.