When to consider a residential treatment center

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When to consider a residential treatment center

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Residential treatment centers are typically reserved for children who have severe safety concerns or suicidality. An interesting model has come up with an alternative to that, which is wrapping services around the family. There are several models that give the parents the option of having the child in the home with a lot of comprehensive supports. In the old days, it used to be that residential care was one of the only gears that troubled kids were offered. Now, we have come to realize that work within the family and family support, that residential care is a short term stop and then the child can return to the family. It's typically severe symptoms and severe safety concerns when considering residential care. I also encourage parents to look into family stabilization, family stabilization teams, multi-systemic models where the child stays in the home. These are always difficult decisions and require a lot of judgement, but I want parents to know that there are other gears and these other models exist.

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Kenneth Duckworth, MD

Psychiatrist, Harvard Professor & Medical Director for NAMI

Ken Duckworth, MD, serves as the medical director for NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. He is triple board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in Adult, Child and Adolescent, and Forensic Psychiatry and has extensive experience in the public health arena.

Dr. Duckworth is currently an Assistant Clinical Professor at Harvard University Medical School, and has served as a board member of the American Association of Community Psychiatrists. Dr. Duckworth has held clinical and leadership positions in community mental health, school psychiatry and now also works as Associate Medical Director for Behavioral Health at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts.

Prior to joining NAMI in 2003, Dr. Duckworth served as Acting Commissioner of Mental Health and the Medical Director for Department of Mental Health of Massachusetts, as a psychiatrist on a Program of Assertive Community Treatment (PACT) team, and Medical Director of the Massachusetts Mental Health Center.

Dr. Duckworth attended the University of Michigan where he graduated with honors and Temple University School of Medicine where he was named to the medical honor society, AOA. While at Temple, he won awards for his work in psychiatry and neurology. He also has a family member living with mental illness.

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