How BRYT Partners with Families

Engaging with families is an essential component of the BRYT model.

When a child returns to school after struggling with depression, anxiety, a concussion, or any other major mental health or medical condition, parents face big questions: how to help their child recover, rebuild strength, and stay safe when the transition back to school’s social and academic pressures poses its own, seemingly enormous challenge?

BRYT’s clinicians partner with families to support their student, plan the transition, coordinate with school staff and other care providers, and help manage any relapse or crisis. Bridge programs are committed to regular communication from the time their student enters the program until the transition back to a full class schedule in order to ensure families are up-to-date on the status of those plans. Schools provide BRYT services at no cost to families.

Care coordination, beyond the school walls

In addition, programs provide relevant local resources and referrals for families and facilitate ‘care coordination’ during the student’s time in the program. If a family needs a prescriber, a specialized therapist, or an in-home counselor, BRYT program staff can work with the family to establish that care and make sure there is effective coordination among all stakeholders.

The BRYT Network is developing additional strategies and interventions to support families. Coming up, BRYT intends to pilot school-based support/education groups and leadership teams, a one-to-one parent peer support project, and parent workshops which schools can adapt and adopt network-wide. Workshop topics may include parent orientation to BRYT, “Making Room for Mental Health in the Family,” and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT).

Parent peer-to-peer support

Families who have come through an acute crisis can provide an invaluable service to those who will find themselves similarly affected in the future. BRYT partners with parents and guardians interested in taking on leadership opportunities. They can inspire others by speaking on panels or presenting at conferences. They can affect policy by engaging in advocacy at the local and/or state level. And in their own communities, they can provide comfort and care by forming Parent Leadership Teams: groups of ‘alumni parents’ who work with staff of their local program to help develop tools and resources which parents of students entering bridge programs for the first time will find useful during their own times of crisis.

“BRYT saved my child’s life and I want to give back”

“It really helps to have a team collaborating for your child – the program staff, therapist, parent, psychiatrist. The program can coordinate this.”

“I needed someone to be hopeful for me sometimes.”

BRYT Parents

 

Further Reading

Wellesley High Bridge Family Website (available in Fall 2017)
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Family Support
McLean Hospital’s Patient and Family Resources, including webinars on Borderline Personality Disorder