Adolescent Intensive Services (AIS) is a day and inpatient program for youth ages 13 to their 19th birthday with mental health and/or substance use disorders. Within AIS, there are three treatment care teams that offer different programming to best meet the needs of the youth who attend our services.
Who is a part of the AIS mental health team?
There are many professionals that work at AIS. This helps us support youth across different areas of their life. Our clinical team consists of: Social Workers, Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Teachers, Educational Support Workers, Nurses (RN & LPN), Youth Care Workers, Recreation Therapists and Associates, Occupational Therapists, and Transition Support Workers.
How does AIS help?
Youth at AIS participate in individual, group, and family therapy. The services we offer to youth and families are based in research that has shown them to be effective. We know how important it is for a youth to have a strong support system when they are making changes. It is expected that family or other support people will be an active participant in each youth's treatment. All parents and guardians at AIS are encouraged to participate in our CONNECT parent group. This is an attachment-based approach that we use in our own interactions with the youth we support.
How long would I be at AIS?
All youth at AIS participate in day treatment programming. This service runs from approximately 8:30am to 3:30pm, Monday to Friday. Some youth also participate in the inpatient component of AIS. We have two inpatient units: a 24/7 and a 24/5 (Sunday evening to Friday) service. Because AIS is a Provincial service, preference for 24/5 beds is given to youth outside of HRM who cannot travel each day. Youth in the concurrent treatment care team (with a primary focus on substance use disorders) may participate in the 24/7 component of treatment. The length of treatment varies, but is generally 8 to 12 weeks, depending on what service the youth is receiving and what their individual and family goals are. Following a youth's treatment at AIS, they continue to be supported in their community for several months by a transition support staff. This helps to maintain the gains that have been made in treatment and allows for continued development of skills.
What is a day at AIS like?
Days at AIS are broken into half days spent in therapeutic groups and half days spent in a therapeutic classroom. Some groups at AIS include Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Structured Psychotherapy for Adolescents Responding to Chronic Stress (SPARCS), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), Aggression Replacement Therapy, Making Changes (substance use focus).
Our therapeutic classroom consists of a small number of students, which helps youth to focus on their educational goals. Youth enrolled in school continue to work on their course credits while at AIS and have aftercare follow-up in the community. Time at AIS is also spent engaging in life skills, recreation and leisure. Youth spend time in the community participating in group and individual recreational interests (art, employment skills, music lessons, skating, swimming, basketball, hiking, cooking, etc.)
Accessing this Clinic, Program or Service
Youth who come to AIS must have first engaged in less intensive services, such as work in their community with an outpatient clinician. For those youth who are not meeting their treatment goals and could benefit from more intensive services, AIS may be considered an option. Referrals to AIS come from mental health and addictions clinicians.
To find out if the Adolescent Intensive Service is the right service to meet your needs, call IWK Central Referral at 1-855-922-1122