Greetings from the Research Coordinator! It’s time for an update on outcomes-based research…
The database continues to grow!
The National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) has a growing community of more than 70 programs participating in outcomes research. This expands quality of care, improvement of services, and to provides useful data to the public. Named the NATSAP Practice Research Network (PRN), this is the largest ongoing aggregate study of clinical outcomes of youth and adult participants who engaged in treatment across NATSAP programs. Programs include Wilderness Therapy, Residential Treatment Centers, Therapeutic Boarding Schools, Young Adult Transitions Programs and others. As a member of NATSAP, True North has been collecting and contributing data to this growing database since 2016.
The results are in!
Research indicates that Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare is an effective treatment modality for mitigating adolescent and young adult mental health issues. Although believed to be an effective intervention by many nature enthusiasts purely on intuition, the growing body of empirically based evidence is irrefutable. Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have been analyzing the data and in 2021, the NATSAP PRN reported that 92.2% relatives/guardians reported clinically acute levels of functioning at enrollment of youth into OBH. Using the Y-OQ to track changes in mental health functioning by measuring symptoms of distress across a variety of areas, researchers have found the total mean scores from adolescents and their relatives/guardians decrease in clinical severity that is sustained over time. In fact, 85.5% of adolescent clients experienced clinically significant improvements from admit to discharge lasting up to one year post program.
In other news:
The Golden Thread is in full swing! The Golden Thread (GT) is a software system that shares outcomes and client progress data points between participating programs that have worked with the same client (only as released by client Release of Information). It allows providers to see a more complete record of client change and outcomes. It also prevents clients and families from the requirement of completing redundant surveys when they transfer from one participating program to another. Participation in the Golden Thread is optional and families have the opportunity to sign up at intake, discharge, 6 and 12 months post-discharge, using the appropriate release of information form.
Wilderness programs utilizing licensed clinicians, evidence based practices, and the prescriptive use of adventure therapy is changing lives for the better (Tucker, Paul, Hobson, Karoff, Gass, 2016). You can read many research articles in the Journal of Therapeutic Schools and Programs here.
True North’s Alumni and Research Coordinator, Alison McHugh, is a member of the NATSAP Research Committee. The committee’s mission is to improve outcomes through identifying evidence of effective interventions, encouraging feedback informed treatment, and maintaining a repository of data and published articles for the advancement of the field. True North Wilderness Program is a gold level research designated program member, dedicated to gathering unbiased data from program participants and parents. True North utilizes feedback gleaned in the study to improve programming while simultaneously contributing to evidence based research. Here is a link to read more: Outcomes Research.