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Teen Behavioral Health News - Jan 2015
In This Issue
C.E. Webinar
Inviting Behavioral Health Professionals


Join us for an online webinar presentation offering free C.E. units.  We welcome 

Mark Myers, LCSW, CAADAC
 to present on


"Anger Management for Adolescents: Helping Them to Help Themselves"

Time:11:00 AM to 12:00 PM PST 


Date: Wednesday Feb 18, 2014 


Commitment to a Particular Teenage Archetype Image Often Leads to Substance Abuse


Some say that Hollywood is like high school with money, which is an appropriate analogy considering that in a sense, the former writes the script for the latter. For as long as written communication has existed, an adolescent's identity has been shaped largely by what they think will benefit them the most socially. Unfortunately, being "cool" in high school often involves levels of role playing, but a commitment to an image that often leads to substance abuse and other unhealthy behavior.


For instance, recent research on the common types of high school students from the University of North Carolina has found that in general, teenagers are overestimated by their peers on things like substance use and underestimated on activities such as studying and exercise. Seeking to understand the ways in that teens are sensitive to peer pressure, the researchers hope that the results shed some light on misperceptions among-st teens and the damage that they can cause. For the study, the researchers reviewed the perceptions and behaviors of over 200 10th grade participants at a suburban, middle-income high school. They followed five reputation-based groups seen in adolescents: social "populars," athletic jocks, deviant burnouts, academic brains and students who were not strongly affiliated with any particular group.....Read on...

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White River Academy


Creating Strength Through 

the Power of Peers




White River Academy is a therapeutic boarding school

 for struggling adolescent males between ages 12 and 17 1/2, located in Delta, Utah. We provide a safe, secure and structured environment for young males to face and overcome their issues.  Using an experiential learning approach that makes students think about what they do, we combine therapeutic programming, a customized academic curriculum, and community service to foster personal growth and create men of character and integrity. White River Academy has a track record of success turning around the lives of troubled teens.

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Adolescent Males and the Risk of Mental Illness in Crime


Though there are exceptions, there is no denying that a number of violent tragedies in the news in recent years have had young male suspects as the perpetrators. The question is why may this gender and age group be especially prone to violent acts? 

Though at the same time, it is important not to stigmatize and to realize that any person may be susceptible to criminal activity for any number of reasons.
Perhaps a better understanding can lead to a better sense of prevention of senseless acts. 


Possible causes

One factor that mental health professionals may point to is that the significant indicators of serious mental illness often begin in the teenage years or young adulthood. Women are often not diagnosed until they are a few years older. Of course, the brain is still undergoing many changes neurologically at this time as well. However, it is critical to note that the most of those suffering from mental illness do not commit violent acts or are a risk to others. The fact that those who do often gain prevalent media exposure may create the illusion that this is more commonplace than it is in reality.


It is also worth noting that regardless of factors such as mental disorders, this age group tends to have the highest propensity for violence nonetheless. Also, there seems to be a much stronger relationship between substance abuse and the occurrence of violence. For example, one University of Michigan study found that young men who were hospitalized for assault injuries are more likely to own a gun...Read On

Meet Our Staff
Jonathan Barney

Classroom Instructor


Jonathan has been a classroom instructor at White River Academy since 2011. He is responsible for implementing activities that actively engage students in meaningful learning experiences. He teaches business, financial literacy, math, science and music appreciation. Jonathan academically challenges the students and engages them to set and achieve high academic goals. He has prepared dozens of students for college.


He directs a school-wide, all organic garden, where students grow food and track heirloom heredity as well as an ecologically based, permaculture food forest. The classes have an active recycling program; the students regularly compost and spend time on research activities that prepare them for living professionally in a mutually enhancing human-earth relationship. In addition to these eco-friendly works, his knowledge of business, economics and legislation aid in providing vocational guidance for students.


Jonathan received his Bachelor of Science in Business Finance from Southern Utah University, graduating Magna Cum Laude. There he co-managed a $250,000 investment portfolio, producing 7.8 percent in dividend returns. He also received an Associate of Science in Business Administration from Snow College. He was an international award winner and President of the DEX business club. 

Read On..

The Importance of Alcohol Warnings from Parents


Parenting practices and restrictions when it comes to alcohol use can make a difference with adolescent drinking, and there is considerable value to consistent and sustained parental attitudes about drinking, according to new research by a University at Buffalo psychologist.


This study, however, shows that those same parents who communicate the risks of alcohol use with their young children are often less likely to continue those discussions as their kids get older, a result suggesting that parents shouldn't underestimate the impact of maintaining that messaging as their children move through adolescence, according to Craig Colder.


His study, "A latent growth curve analysis of alcohol-use specific parenting and adolescent alcohol use," was published in recently in Addictive Behaviors.


Colder says a parent's attitude affects a kid's attitude, and subsequently drinking in general.

"I Wish I Could Be Like The Cool Kids"

The popular lyrics hit home for many of us. There probably isn't a teen out there that at some point hasn't wanted to be part of the cool crowd.  Just about everyone knows who the cool kids are and gossips about what they do.  Of course, what's cool in your school may not be cool at a different school in another city or part of the country. 

For example, a few years back, one teen, Shelby Marie Raye, won a NIDA Addiction Science Award for her research on what makes kids cool.  In her school, sports were in. Honors classes were out. And drugs and alcohol were less cool the older teens got.


But if in 10 years you were to take a look back at the cool kids in your middle school- recent researchsuggests-they may not turn out like you'd expect.

Cool and Hot Become Not 

The researchers studied a group of middle school students and checked in with them for 10 years to track their "coolness."  What they found out at the start was that, for this group of 13 - 14 year olds, the "cool" kids: 

  • acted older than their age (though their parents and peers did not think they were actually more mature)
  • started dating in middle school
  • experimented with drugs and alcohol
  • got into trouble

Read On...

Book Spotlight

Gaining "Permission to Mourn"

with Tom Zuba


Categories: Grief and Loss, Mental Health


Going through loss and grief is one of the harder parts of life that no one can truly escape. Some individuals face it early, losing a parent or friend to a sudden illness or watching a friend disappear from drug use, while others escape it until later in life, losing grandparents to age or someone to a car crash. No matter what the situation is, loss and the resulting grief it creates can be devastating. However, in most cases, people tend to show and experience very little actual outward grief. There are tears in bedrooms behind closed doors or avoided conversations. To tell the truth, many people have experienced the unspoken societal norm that causes them to hold in their grief because they don't have permission to mourn the way they want to.

Thankfully, Tom Zuba is bringing back the permission to mourn that so many people need.


In Zuba's book "Permission to Mourn" he discusses a new way to do grief. Zuba is speaking from experience here too after losing his daughter Erin, his wife Trici and his son Rory. Like many others, Zuba went through the emotional turmoil of repression, denial, numbing and any and all emotions he had that came up. This way of dealing with grief only adds pain on top of pain. 

Read On...

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White River Academy 275 West 100 South
Delta, Utah 84624
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