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What is COPE?

While working with suicidal adolescents it became clear that their suicidal ideation was a reaction to being unable to solve their problems. We started to think about what these adolescents were missing and realized, through dialogue and research, that most adolescents had ineffective coping skills.

When feeling overwhelmed by daily stressors, adolescents will mistakenly attempt to gain a sense of control by turning to high-risk behaviors. Our idea was to create a program that would help kids to identify alternatives to negative behavior. It is not enough for kids to "talk," they also need to "do" by creating options and perspectives for everyday (COPE).

So, one of the main priorities of COPE is to support kids in creating a plan of action to deal with stress.

Program Structure

This is a ten session group therapy program. The group will be limited to 12 participants and facilitated by licensed social workers. Each session will be focused on a specific critical component of coping and will utilize a combination of creative, experiential and traditional therapeutic approaches. Throughout the program, exercises and activities will be used to allow participants to practice their newly acquired skills.

All kids face challenges, so COPE is for everyone. To emphasize the importance of family involvement, a family session will be conducted by one of the facilitators in order to assess family dynamics and gather relevant information. Additionally parents will be expected to join in one group session focused on coping within the family context.

Goals of COPE:

Participants will develop: