BRYT Program

Brookline Resilient Youth Team (BRYT)

The Challenge:

Each year, one in ten adolescents will have a serious emotional disorder that often results in a psychiatric hospitalization or prolonged absence from school and always disrupts his or her schooling, home life, and social supports.

Re-entering school after hospitalization is fraught with problems. Depressed and anxious, having trouble concentrating, fearing relapse and social rejection, teens are at high risk for academic failure and social isolation. Their families are in crisis too, trying to navigate the maze of medical, mental health and substance abuse systems. The complex needs of these students overwhelm most public high school staff.

What We Do:

BRYT is a unique response to help these teens and their families. Two school-based Clinical Coordinators (social workers) and a Classroom Aide work closely with students and their families during a crisis and then through the four-to-eight week re-entry process.

The Coordinators provide clinical care, support and information, help families negotiate the social service network, facilitate communication with health care personnel and therapists, and liaison between students, teachers, and tutors. A specialized "Home-base" classroom located right in the high school serves as a safe place where students can check in as needed during the day, receive tutoring, and get counseling and academic support such as organizing and completing school work.

Who Created BRYT:

BRYT is a collaboration between the Brookline High School and the Brookline Community Mental Health Center.

What We've Accomplished:

160 teens were seen between 2004 and 2007. The BRYT model has been successfully replicated by Wellesley, MA High Schools.
90% of BRYT students continued their schooling without disruption. Inquiries about replication have been received from several states.
BRYT is cost-effective, preventing out of school placements or rehospitalizations. BRYT staff educated teachers on how to respond to the needs of seriously emotionally ill students.
BRYT students show improved school functioning on standardized measures. We've built a strong collaboration between parents, schools, and mental health agencies.
Families report that they function better, with decreased stress and anxiety.  

Our Next Steps:

  • Replicate the program in additional communities both locally and nationally.
  • Expand the range of support groups for families and teens in BRYT.
  • Develop diversified funding streams including the Brookline Schools, MA Departments of Mental Health and/or Education, health insurance coverage, and foundation grants to sustain BRYT long term.
  • Share the skills and lessons we've learned in presentations and develop a manual.

Our Thanks To: The Local Initiative Funding Partners program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for a $300,000 grant to the Brookline Community Foundation for 9/2004 to 9/2008 with matching support from: • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation • Bay State Federal Charitable Foundation • Brookline Bank • Brookline Community Foundation • Brookline Public Schools • Brookline Housing Authority • Brookline Tuberculosis & Health Society • Klarman Family Foundation • Friends of Brookline Public Health • Sidney & Esther Rabb Charitable Foundation • Sovereign Bank • Bennett Family Foundation • Covidien Partnership for Community Wellness

Contact Information: