Groundbreaking safe spaces for metro teens - MetroFamily Magazine
MetroFamily Magazine

Where OKC parents find fun & resources

Groundbreaking safe spaces for metro teens

by Erin Page

Reading Time: 2 minutes 

First behavioral health program for LGBTQ+ teens launches in OKC

The Nest Program at Cedar Ridge Behavioral Hospital in Oklahoma City opened in early 2020, the first inpatient specialized behavioral health program dedicated to LGBTQ+ teens. The program specializes in serving youth ages 13 to 17 who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning or queer in an environment free of stressors that could hinder progress toward meeting treatment goals.

According to the National Institutes of Health, LGBTQ+ youth are 4 to 5 times more likely to attempt suicide compared to their straight peers, and trans youth are 8 times more likely to attempt. On the contrary, just one affirming adult can lower suicidality by 40 percent.

At The Nest, culturally-sensitive, evidence-based treatment is provided by an affirming multidisciplinary mental health care team who help youth increase their resiliency, enhance coping skills and facilitate healthy familial and social relationships. Patients are empowered to take control of their own mental and emotional well-being and spend time in group settings discussing topics like coming out safely, stress management, inclusiveness, coping with grief, healthy relationships and boundaries.

Learn more at cedarridgebhs.com, and find more local resources for LGBTQ+ youth and their families at metrofamilymagazine.com/okc-lgbtq-resources.

Pivot opens new youth shelter 

The Point at Pivot opened in late June as a drop-in center and overnight shelter serving youth up to age 24. This new resource for homeless youth in the community fills a need for this age group to rest and receive support and services.

“Homeless youth face much higher risks of physical or sexual assault and exposure to illegal activities than non-homeless youth,” said Lindsay Cates, emergency services director for Pivot. “They also often feel ignored or overlooked as they try to navigate life alone. The Point will offer them safety as well as a chance to share their point of view and make their own progress.”

The Point at Pivot is a community partnership with funding from The Arnall Family Foundation, The Cresap Family Foundation, Inasmuch Foundation and United Way of Central Oklahoma. Pivot has provided support for youth in the community for almost 50 years, offering education and job assistance, therapeutic care and prevention and intervention services, as well as meeting basic needs like food, personal hygiene items, clothing and short- and long-term housing.

For metro teens seeking to serve other teens, Pivot’s Teen Service Board provides an opportunity for youth to develop compassion, empathy and expanded social perspectives while learning valuable workplace ethics and business skills. The board is open to applicants in grades 9 through 12 and has previously conducted back-to-school drives, raised funds for holiday gifts for homeless teens and assembled food baskets for students without parental support.

For more information, visit pivotok.org.

Mobile response available for local youth in crisis

The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse offers over-the-phone crisis support for youth 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Children, teens and young adults (or an adult who loves them) can receive behavioral, emotional, physical and social support by calling 1 (833) 885-CARE.

The highly trained team can connect callers with immediate care and crisis intervention over the phone, local mental health professionals who can come to the child’s home, follow-up care and resources.

For more information, visit ok.gov/odmhsas/Mental_Health_/Crisis_Services.

more stories