Study reached homeless teens

 COLUMBUS, Ohio, Jan. 19 (UPI) A comprehensive intervention program aimed at homeless youths can dramatically improve their situation, a study at Ohio State University found.

Homeless youth are often seen as difficult to engage and difficult to treat, said Natasha Slesnick, an associate professor of human development and family science at Ohio State on Columbus. But what this study shows is that we can be successful in helping a group that is often seen as unreachable. We can successfully reduce their alcohol and drug use, and improve their social stability and psychological functioning.The study followed 180 youths ages 14 to 22 for six months at an Albuquerque drop-in center. Half received the usual services, while the other half received more intensive services, including individual therapy.

Both groups showed improvement — measured by drug and alcohol abuse, depression and social stability — but the group in the more intensive program showed significantly greater improvement.

The content is not as important as having these teens come in and talk to a therapist and develop a new, positive experience with an adult, said Slesnick.

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