Offering young adults with depression or other mood disorders specialized residential programming since February of 2014, FOCUS in Oconomowoc, WI, has created a pattern of positive patient outcomes. Recently, the program added a second track for adults over 30 years old.
“Though the program is still fairly young and our results are unpublished, most of our patients have shown significant improvement,” says Rachel Leonard, PhD, clinical supervisor of FOCUS. “We still need to do more research and we are continuing to do so, but our initial results show many of our patients have experienced significant reduction in symptoms of depression and anxiety.”
In the program’s first year, the treatment team has refined their process. “This program has grown from targeting six young adults initially, to now targeting 21 young adults and soon up to 11 adults over 30. As we have grown, we have worked to ensure that we offer consistent messaging, interventions and structure across FOCUS—which improves communication not only among the treatment team, but to our patients as well,” she notes.
FOCUS was created to fill a gap in residential programming. The team has gained a greater understanding of who may benefit from this treatment model. “As we’ve gained experience treating young adults in this program, we’ve found that these treatment strategies could benefit a wider range of people that includes older adults and now we’re taking that next step,” says Dr. Leonard.
As the program became more well-known, it was clear that referring clinical professionals and older adults were in need of similar programming for adults over 30. “We’ve found that some of our young adults who may have experienced ‘failure to launch’ had many of the same symptoms as some older adults with depression and anxiety. The same treatment model would be beneficial for them as well, with some minor adjustments. These older adults may not necessarily be experiencing ‘failure to launch,’ but their depression or anxiety could be making their lives take a turn for the worse.”
Dr. Leonard explains that the two age groups benefit from receiving programming in separate tracks. “Patients are more comfortable in a group that they can relate to. It can be difficult for adults over 30 to connect with someone who is having difficulty navigating college or their first job.”
Based on the program’s early positive results and response from the clinical field, the future of FOCUS looks promising. “We’re excited to begin serving a new population of adults in our program and it will be great to feel confident that we will be able to help more individuals get back to living more fulfilling lives.”