The only rehab unit dedicated to teenagers in the UK opens in London

Troubled teenagers in the UK now have the benefit of an early intervention clinic thanks to the launch of the new facility in London. This aims to address the serious lack of specialist care that is available in the UK specifically for young people. Since Middlegate Lodge closed in 2012, Britain has been devoid of any kind of rehab facility dedicated to children.

The new 10 bed residential, therapeutic unit is called the Alchemy Clinic, and will provide the assistance for what many parents and youth workers are calling a lost generation of teenage drug users, computer addicts and alcoholics. The Alchemy Clinic will provide specialist care for those aged 13-18 and will address some of the most significant behavioural problems that young people of today face.

The Alchemy Model has been specifically designed to deal with the destructive behaviours that are unique to young people with the aim of intervening early before the consequences of their actions get out of hand.

The AlchemyClinic is a ten bed residential therapeutic unit providing help for what many youth workers and parents are terming a ‘lost generation’ of teenage alcoholics, drug users and computer addicts. Alchemy will provide specialist care for 13 to 18 year olds, addressing some of the very specific behavioural problems facing young people today. The Alchemy Model is specifically designed to address the destructive behaviours unique to young people and to intervene early, before consequences get out of hand.

The Alchemy Clinic’s founder and Clinical Director is Steven Noel-Hill, a former FIFA Football Agent and father of two, who recovered from his own addiction to gambling and retrained as a counsellor at the renowned Priory Clinic. Steven specialises in adolescent interventions and established the clinic because he believes passionately in the effectiveness of the early intervention model. He also believes that young people are being short changed by a lack of dedicated services available to them. He says, “The National Treatment Agency believes that youngsters experiencing behavioural problems are best treated within the community, but I believe this is seriously misjudged.

The reality for young people at risk of going off the rails is that they are surrounded by temptation every day, when they are with friends and at school. Even the home environment can be too risky for many. The problem is not just drugs and alcohol but issues with excessive Internet use and gaming too. With the advent of social networking and smart phones these activities are incredibly difficult for adults to police. Early intervention in a controlled environment away from temptation is crucial to help these kids reassess their relationships with friends and loved ones, make more positive choices in the lives and to have a chance to make changes for the better.”

The aim of the Alchemy Early Intervention Programme is to recognise self destructive traits at an early age and to prevent youngsters ending up in rehab in their 20’s having lost their education, jobs, friends and families. Clients will spend a month at the centre, and will undergo a treatment programme designed to challenge and change their knowledge, attitudes and behaviours.

Emphasis is placed on group therapy and clients will be asked to explore the impact of their behaviour on loved ones and those around them. There will also be an extensive menu of workshops and lectures with access to some of the most dynamic and inspirational people in the field.

Crucially, unlike other traditional bootcamp settings, teenagers will not be locked away for a month in the middle of no-where, but instead encouraged to take advantage of the clinic’s city location and to get out and about in the community through a supervised volunteer scheme, regular exercise and group outings to art galleries, cinema or bowling. The aim is to teach clients new strategies to deal with their reality and to take personal responsibility for their behaviour.

Steven believes that it is a myth that addicts need to reach rock bottom before they can be helped. Working with adults at the Priory, Steven realised that many of their behaviours started years earlier, during adolescence. He explains: “Many of my clients exhibited problem traits during their adolescence, with events such as expulsion, excessive drug and alcohol use, self harming and excessive computer gaming characterising their behaviour. Parents and schools are too willing to believe that it is just a phase and they will grow out of it. But many don’t and we are left with young adults who are unable to cope with life. There is nothing inevitable about a self-destructive life pattern. With early recognition and intervention, lives can be transformed.”

Crucially, the Alchemy Clinic will treat the whole family, not just the individual, recognising the importance of parent’s and sibling’s involvement in recovery. Parents who have struggled to provide the very best for their children often feel a sense of hopelessness when things start to go wrong. The Alchemy Clinic provides an opportunity and platform for families to explore their relationships, assess and question their behaviours, deal with toxic issues and start to open up effective lines of communication.

The Alchemy Clinic will offer an important resource to the independent school sector and has established links with a number of independent institutions. With many schools adopting a zero tolerance policy towards drugs and other self-destructive behaviours, the solution is often expulsion, which merely passes the problem onto the next institution, or cuts education short without ever addressing the real issues.

Early intervention through the Alchemy Clinic will enable schools to offer specialist, tailored help and avoid the ramifications of expulsion. An educational programme is provided during the stay so that academic studies are not disrupted. Clients will be expected to undertake periods of study every day and tutors will be available for GCSE, A-Level and Baccalaureate students.

Alchemy is committed to aftercare. The success of their programme is measured by how well the student adapts back to life after their month long stay at the clinic. All students are expected to follow a comprehensive aftercare plan and Alchemy will work alongside schools to ensure that clients continue to receive the care and support they need.

To book treatment at the Alchemy Clinic visit or phone 07857 501 152.