Teen Mental Health

Cutting-edge and compassionate treatments for teenagers

From our Founder Dr. Marisha Chilcott:

"Ketamine has been used as an aesthetic in the pediatric population for decades. The use of ketamine as an anesthetic agent in children has been demonstrated to be very safe down to 3 months of age. Its use in neonates (babies under 3 months) is not recommended, but it is absolutely clearly safe for older children and teens."

13 %
of all US teens

In 2017, 3.2 million U.S. teens ages 12 to 17 said they had experienced at least one major depressive episode in the past year, up from 8% (or 2 million) in 2007.

1 in 5
Teenage Girls

One-in-five teenage girls – or nearly 2.4 million – had experienced at least one major depressive episode in 2017.

7 %
of Teenage Boys

7% of teenage boys (or 845,000) had at least one major depressive episode in the past 12 months. (Source: 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health)

80 %
Efficacy rate of Ketamine-assisted Therapy

Imagine how many teens we could help. There is hope!

Adolescents vary in personality types, backgrounds, and life experiences, yet every teen deserves the opportunity to experience optimal mental well-being. With a focus on hope and tried-and-true treatments, we are here to lead your teen toward a brighter future.

Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy is a promising new treatment for a variety of mental disorders of adolescence. There is currently an adolescent mental healthcrisis, with a high prevalence of disorders, diagnostic complexity, and many adolescents failing to respond to conventional treatments.
(Source: Wolfson PE, Andries J, Ahlers D and Whippo M (2023) Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy in adolescents with multiple psychiatric diagnoses. Front. Psychiatry 14:1141988. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2023.1141988)Open the research document here »

Source: Bali A, Dang A, Gonzalez D A, et al. (July 20, 2022) Clinical Uses of Ketamine in Children: A Narrative Review. Cureus 14(7): e27065. doi:10.7759/cureus.27065

"Ketamine has a distinctive role for the pediatric population and has several advantages over other anesthetics.

  • It is the drug of choice for children with congenital heart diseases (CHD) with a right to left shunt because of its beneficial cardiovascular effects.
  • It is used extensively in head and neck surgeries, including dental procedures and cleft palate repair operations.
  • Since ketamine preserves the airway reflexes and is a bronchodilator, it is extremely useful for anesthetizing patients with reactive airway disease.
  • Ketamine can be used as an analgesic for managing postoperative pain.
  • Ketamine has been proven to be an excellent drug for the treatment of chronic pain.
  • Ketamine is used as a rapid sedative-analgesic to aid in short and painful procedures in the emergency department.
  • Ketamine is used for burns dressings and wound care.
  • Newer research has concluded that ketamine has efficacy in managing treatment-resistant depression, bipolar depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy is a promising new treatment for a variety of mental disorders of adolescence. There is currently an adolescent mental health crisis, with a high prevalence of disorders, diagnostic complexity, and many adolescents failing to respond to conventional treatments.

National Library of Medicine: There is a recognized and alarming crisis in adolescent mental health worldwide, both preceding the COVID-19 pandemic, and certainly in the midst of it, with evidence suggesting a doubling of the prevalence of depression and anxiety. From May 2020 to March 2021, the rate of emergency department visits for suspected suicide attempts increased precipitously for adolescents aged 12–17 compared to the corresponding period in 2019, particularly among female subjects.

National Library of Medicine: A systematic review summarized the nascent research on ketamine for adolescent treatment-resistant mood disorders. They concluded that ketamine was shown in adolescents to improve depressive symptoms, decrease acute suicidality, and reduce mood lability, however, a number of subjects did not have significant responses to treatment.

Ketamine-assisted Therapy for Adolescents

Given ketamine's episodic, intermittent, and low-dose usage for psychiatric treatment, we would argue that the effects of continuous mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, stimulants, tranquilizers, and antidepressants present a much greater and unassessed risk to adolescent brain maturation. Furthermore, the negative effects of these on emotion and cognition are well described.

It is clear that the risks to the youth of emotional disorders and morbidity—including suicide, self-harm, eating disorders, impulsivity, alcohol, and drug abuse—outweigh the potential risk of ketamine use in a controlled clinical application.

Source: Frontiers in Psychiatry

How we work with teens at BTC

We work dyadically (i.e., a medical doctor and therapist for each patient) with all adolescents as is customary in working in our practice with Ketamine-assisted Psychotherapy in adults.

We have standardized intake assessment measures across all patients. We administer a detailed questionnaire along with measures at intake to assess for childhood adverse experiences, resilience, depression, anxiety, and PTSD. We assess changes at each session with repeated measures and our own change of state form, as well as for the effects and presence of mystical experience and depth of ego-dissolution during ketamine experiences.

Both parents and adolescents review written informed consent and then all involved sign, only after satisfying any concerns and questions.

Once appropriateness for treatment has been established, we administer ketamine using an intramuscular (IM) injection. Ketamine is only administered in our mental health clinic and only by a medical practitioner.

  • Trust established and patient prepared for experience by a trained and licensed therapist. Preparation includes individual intention setting by the patient.
  • Space "held" or by licensed therapist and/or guide/group leader with individuals' trusted companion during medicine session.
  • Lessons learned and new perspectives reinforced by trained therapist with integration.

Take Action Now

Navigating through challenges like depression, anxiety, or other mental conditions can be very tough for teens. At age 13, about 8% of the U.S. teens have a diagnosable anxiety disorder. By 18, up to 15% of all teens experience symptoms of a clinical anxiety disorder (Source: Mission Harbor Behavioral Health).

At BTC in Mental Health, we are all about equipping you with the right tools and support to help your adolescent conquer these hurdles. We offer very effective treatments such as Ketamine-assisted Therapy and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation.


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Teen Mental Health Statistics in 2023 as reported by the CDC

Given the dramatically changing landscape brought on by the COVID pandemic and other factors, it is no surprise that teen mental health statistics have taken center stage. Recent CDC data shows the following regarding teen mental health in the United States:

  • 37% of high school students reported feeling adverse mental health symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • 44% of high school students reported feeling signs of depression within the last year
  • 55% of high school students reported they experienced emotional abuse by a parent or other adult in the home
  • 11% of high school students reported physical abuse by a parent or other adult in the home
  • 29% of high school students reported a parent or other adult in their home lost a job during the COVID-19 pandemic

In a poll done for the National Institute on Mental Illness (NAMI):

  • 64% of teens reported feeling the world is more stressful now than when parents were their age
  • Teen girls were more likely to report feelings of anxiety than teen boys
  • 25% of teens have been diagnosed with a mental health condition
  • 28% of teens report having received mental health treatment
  • Teen boys were more likely to say they do not need treatment for their mental health
  • 67% of teens think schools should offer days off for mental health
  • 56% say their school thinks that mental health matters