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Teenage girl talks during support group meeting

The last few years have been hard for many young people. Many independent research studies have reported a disturbing increase in the number of youth seeking mental health counseling since 2019. Those in their late teens and early 20s face especially difficult psychological and social hurdles as they transition to adulthood. But in Clark County, those youth have Columbia River’s Options Youth Program to guide them. 

The Options Youth Program assists local youth as they make the transition from adolescence to adulthood. Open to all Clark County youth ages 14 to 24, Options offers a range of activities, from art and music to social events, adult skills development, educational support, and counseling. Our guiding principle is to meet each youth where they are at on their journey and to make that journey to the adult world a success on their terms.

Options Youth Program serves youth with a multidisciplinary team whose members collaborate, so you meet your life objectives. We have peer navigators with lived experience; an Employment specialist; therapists; and case managers. Together, they will work with the youth to create an individualized plan for entering adulthood.

Collaboration is key in ensuring support is available at any time for youth in need. It’s a team effort where everyone has shared visions and goals. Options Youth Therapist Cat Naish shares, “We all work together as a team. If youth are interested in pursuing something, we’ll pursue it. It’s really serious work, but we have fun while doing it, to make everyone feel comfortable and engaged.”

An Options participant can expect to build on their current strengths while addressing personal improvement goals through Options’ individualized guidance.

“In order to have the greatest impact now and in the future, young people’s overall health and leadership are critical. We must build on what has helped and invest in what the youth feels empowers them to change their mental health and their communities’ mental health,” shares Vicki Dahlgren​, Program Director of Options Youth Program.

If you or someone you know between the ages of 14 and 24 is struggling, reach out to us or drop-in from 4-5pm every Thursday at the Youth House (1012 Esther St., Vancouver, WA 98660). We’ll be there to help!

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