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LEAP continues to grow with donations

Teenage suicide rates continue to rise and it is an alarming trend that continues to plague the children’s hospital. Studies show that most adolescent suicides are impulsive and are committed within 10 minutes of the teenager thinking about it. Teens struggling with a chronic medical condition are even more likely to attempt suicide.

For this reason, Geisinger Janet Weis Children’s Hospital created LEAP, Launching the Empowerment of Adolescents Program, for at-risk youth.

LEAP works as a support group for these teens and offers peer mentorship, where children can share their concerns, improve coping skills and enhance their support systems. The program is open to any child ages 13 to 18 who has a chronic medical condition.
Currently, there are 30 children involved and they meet monthly in a non-medical setting. The activities that the group has held include holiday-themed events, outings to laser tag and escape rooms and much more.
Program organizers, made up of physicians and students in pediatric residency, are working to expand its resources to reach a larger population of adolescents. These efforts include the creation of a streamlined system to allow providers to have easy referrals for LEAP and creating an interest group of providers who would like to receive monthly updates on the program.

“We have had some truly amazing teens help each other through hard situations,” said Amanda Beach, DO, third-year pediatric resident. “We have one graduate of the group that wants to come back and expand music therapy at the children’s hospital. Another teen is interested in giving educational talks to our resident group on being the patient.”

Donations to Children’s Miracle Network at Geisinger helped make the program a reality two years ago and have continued to help provide operational costs, materials and supplies for the program.

“Our next steps include branching out into the school system to take a front line stance on bullying and the challenges that our adolescents currently face,” Dr. Beach said.

Make a donation today to help critical programs like LEAP.