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'YSB is the largest it's ever been:' Youth Service Bureau expands services to young adults

After serving kids ages 5-18 for around 40 years, the Youth Service Bureau is opening its age restrictions to young adults up to 25 years old.

Over the past two years, YSB has been constantly expanding both geographically and in its services, with age expansion being the latest addition.

"We're seeing a lot more kids that are college-aged that come home for the summer ... that are continuing to have need for therapy services for anxiety, depression and other mental health," Executive Director Bob Sherman said.

Program Director Michael Huntley said that over the last five years YSB served about 50 people over 18 years old, mainly people who were pre-existing patients from high school treatment. Young adults needing counseling but who were not previously clients can now utilize YSB therapists.

The adult brain isn't fully developed until a person is in their mid-20s; past that, Sherman said, the issues people deal with tend to be different. Treatment in the early-20s can help prevent future problems, making it a good time to seek help.

Ever-expanding services

Starting two years ago, YSB swiftly raised $1.1 million during an expansion campaign aimed at adding more therapists, increasing chemical health treatments and moving into more schools within the South Washington County, Stillwater and North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale school districts.

The expansion was fully implemented into schools during the 2017-18 school year. Sherman said they were able to serve more than 51,000 kids last year.

"The Youth Service Bureau is now the largest it's ever been," he said. "The number of kids and families that we're serving now has dramatically increased since the campaign."

With some newly-hired staffers licensed for Wisconsin, they could also be eyeing school districts across the St. Croix River for possible future expansion.

"We haven't started, but are ready to if we need to," Sherman said.

Early intervention

Another grant, just received from the Andeavor Foundation, will help YSB focus on early intervention and school safety services.

"Kids that become isolated ... can become a real risk to the school community," Sherman said. "Remote cases can become school shooters. We're working with staff to recognize those signs and work with them."

Huntley said there will be three parts to this new resource: working directly with students, doing some training with faculty and helping to educate parents.

"We're really excited because that early intervention is one of our goals," he said.

The Youth Service Bureau has locations in Cottage Grove, Woodbury and Stillwater. For more information or to learn how to make an appointment, visit www.ysb.net.

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