Youth sitting on a hill

Omegon Aftercare Pilot Partners with Medica Foundation for Youth Success

October 9, 2019

What’s more difficult for a teen than spending months in a residential treatment center battling the twin demons of mental illness and chemical dependency? Too often, the answer is “coming home.”

Volunteers of America MN and WI is proud to announce that a partnership with Medica Foundation to pilot an innovative aftercare model for youth leaving Omegon Residential Treatment Center is off to a great start!

In Minnesota, one in five youth experience a mental health problem during their school years. A fraction of these are also youth suffering from a co-occurring disorder such as chemical dependency. With over 40 years of experience working with youth and their families, Omegon helps teens who are experiencing serious emotional and behavioral disorders, while also struggling with abuse and dependency on mood-altering chemicals. Stays at Omegon often range between six and nine months.

“Our kids are nearly always happy to go home after their stays here, but leaving can be a scary time too,” Aftercare Specialist Brianna Chuba said, noting that many of the challenges youth were struggling with before their time at Omegon are still facing them on their return to community.

Unless provided with effective post-discharge support, youth’s mental health gains may be jeopardized. Studies show adolescents relapse at rates that often exceeds 60% during the year after residential treatment. While many care providers recognize aftercare services for youth returning home from long-term treatment as essential, very few receive such services because of lack of funding.

Now, through a two-year, $200,000 grant from Medica Foundation, Omegon is working with residents to provide them the support they need to transition back into community in a healthy way. The Medica Foundation funded Aftercare Specialists will be critically important to ensuring 140 teens have access to necessary long-term supports to help them lead successful lives in their homes and community.

VOA MN/WI COO Anna Petersmeyer noted that Medica Foundation’s partnership allows us all to advance the conversation about Youth Residential Treatment Aftercare in Minnesota.

“Medica has been a true partner to Volunteers of America MN and WI, serving as a catalyst for innovations that allow us to evolve and adapt to promote the health, well-being and resilience of those we serve,” Anna said.

“Medica’s latest investment will transform our ability to foster continued mental and chemical health recovery within youth, helping them to thrive as they transition back to community following residential services. We look forward to collaborating with Medica to advance health equity and meet the opportunities ahead.”