Supporting Teens and Strengthening Families of Harford County, Ashley Addiction Treatment Opens Location for The Clubhouse

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July 21 ribbon cutting and open house will showcase a new safe space for teens to relax, learn and have fun

As the U.S. faces a growing mental health crisis, providing youth and families with the resources and support they need is vital. All too often, when mental health issues go unaddressed, it leads to substance use problems, which can wreak havoc on families and disrupt children’s ability to function. With the generous support of the Mental Health/Core Services Agency of Harford CountyAshley Addiction Treatment (Ashley) is pleased to announce the grand opening of its location for The Clubhouse by Ashley (“The Clubhouse”), a free after-school and summer care program for Harford County teens ages 12 to 17 (18 if still in high school) and families, particularly those who have been impacted by or are at risk for substance use disorders. On July 21, there will be a ribbon-cutting at 10 a.m. followed by an open house for members of the community from 2-6 p.m. at 1016 K Beards Hill Road Aberdeen, MD 21001.

In July 2021, Ashley announced the launch of virtual services for The Clubhouse. By December, renovations for the 3,500 square-foot space began thanks to a $450,000 donation from the Harford County Government. With its completion, all services and activities will be available at the new location. Virtual services will also remain open based on demand to guarantee continued access for participants without transportation.

“Adolescents are at a critical developmental point in their lives and extremely impressionable, which makes it easy for a number of very specific and complex challenges to arise during these formative years,” said Laura Dahl, LCPC, director of family services at Ashley, one of the world’s most recognized and respected names in the substance use disorder treatment industry. “The Clubhouse is a safe space for teens to relax, grow, and most importantly, learn to have fun in healthy ways. We’re focused on prevention and building stronger family connections because we know that engaging kids at this age with the entire family as one unit is powerful and provides the best chances for success.”

The pandemic introduced many additional stressors into the lives of families and kids. According to the National Survey of Children’s Health, the number of children ages 3 to 17 years diagnosed with anxiety and depression grew by 29 percent and 27 percent, respectively, between 2016 and 2020. Between 2019 and 2020, children diagnosed with behavioral or conduct problems increased by 21 percent. The Clubhouse provides access to crucial services that support the mental health needs of communities—a pivotal step in the fight against substance use disorders.

“We are thrilled about the opening of The Clubhouse’s new building,” said Jessica Kraus, executive director of the Office of Mental Health/Core Services Agency of Harford County. “Ashley has shown their commitment to supporting Harford County youth by creating effective programs that help them develop self-empowerment skills, build resiliency and increase self-esteem, which are essential tools to building a greater community.”

The Clubhouse is the first of its kind in Harford County and fosters critical resources for families as an essential part of the program. This includes the evidence-based Strengthening Families Program (SFP), which improves parental confidence and skills through education and builds up the entire family unit as a stable support system. In addition, The Clubhouse promotes pro-social behavior by utilizing recovery support services, peers and diverse activities to help teens develop important life skills, learn about substances and substance use disorders, and practice healthy coping mechanisms. Depending on individual needs and interests, teen activities may include movie nights, yoga, cooking, book club, arts and crafts, board games, video games and other fun in-person activities, community events and outings. Participants in the program will also have time to complete homework under the supervision of a young adult peer recovery support specialist.

“This is the pivotal age when kids just want to hang out with their friends and be themselves. It’s also when they might be tempted, or even try, their first substance,” said Jennifer Aguglia, LCSW-C, vice president of outpatient services at Ashley. “But if we can engage and empower them to make healthier choices, we have the potential to change the trajectory of their whole lives. And that is what The Clubhouse is all about.”

The Clubhouse is a free program that includes transportation at no cost. It is only available for residents of Harford County at this time. Summer hours of operation, which started in July and will last through the end of August, are Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. To learn more, stay updated about The Clubhouse, or to apply, visit Ashley’s website or email theclubhouse@ashleytreatment.org.

To learn more about Ashley or to view its extensive list of services and programs that help those impacted by a substance use disorder and their families, please visit ashleytreatment.org.

ABOUT ASHLEY ADDICTION TREATMENT

Ashley Addiction Treatment (Ashley) is a nationally recognized leader in evidence-based treatment of substance use disorders. Ashley’s comprehensive programs integrate a full spectrum of medical, clinical and holistic treatment methods, and result in frequent publications of ongoing research into effective treatment methodologies. Ashley’s driving principle – “everything for recovery” – guides healing for each individual with respect and dignity. Accredited by The Joint Commission and a division of Ashley Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Ashley has treated over 50,000 patients since 1983 and has awarded more than $65 million in scholarships to assist patient recovery. Offerings include inpatient and outpatient treatment, sobriety enrichment, community outreach, family and children’s education, and specialty programs. For more information, please visit ashleytreatment.org.

ABOUT THE MENTAL HEALTH/CORE SERVICE AGENCY OF HARFORD COUNTY

Developed in 1997, the Office on Mental Health/Core Service Agency of Harford County, Inc. (OMH/CSA) is a private non-profit organization that provides oversight, promotion, and support for the development of accessible, community-based behavioral health services in Harford County. The OMH/CSA was designed to advocate, monitor, and identify the needs of people engaged in the Harford County Public Behavioral Health System while ensuring high-quality services are provided to all persons who are in need.

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