About Services for Teens At Risk (STAR-Center)




Services for Teens At Risk (STAR-Center) is a program that combines clinical and outreach services designed to combat the problem of adolescent suicide.  Our mission is to offer state-of-the art, responsive care for youth and their families with depression, anxiety, or who are at risk for suicidal behavior, to train other professionals in best practices and to make these practices better through continued research.  STAR-Center is committed to the integration of education, prevention, treatment, and research in order to offer the best care for our youth.

Since its inception, STAR-Center has served as a laboratory for the development of best practices for assessment, prevention, intervention, postvention, and training. STAR-Center researchers have helped to establish the profile and risk factors for youth at risk for suicide, especially the contributions of mood disorder, substance abuse, and access to firearms. Studies conducted at STAR, in collaboration with others across the nation, have helped to establish the roles of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and antidepressant medication for the treatment of depression and anxiety and for the management of depressed suicidal patients and those with treatment resistant depression. Other work has included studies of the impact of bereavement on children and adolescents, how suicidal behavior is transmitted within families, and biological contributors to suicidal behavior and treatment resistant depression. Since its inception STAR-Center has provided training in evidence-based assessment and intervention to over 170 clinicians including Masters and PhD level interns, psychiatry residents, pediatric fellows and medical students.  In addition, through specialized training, we have reached approximately 88,729 educators, and staff of youth-serving agencies throughout the Commonwealth, and helped to set policy standards for the management of suicidal youth and youth affected by a peer suicide in educational settings.

In recent years, the STAR-Center clinicians have developed an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) tailored to the needs of depressed, anxious, and suicidal youth, which allows for a seamless continuum of care for our high-risk patients.  With STAR-Center training and consultation, this IOP program has now been replicated in sites across the country and even internationally.  



Recovery and Wellness:  The Journey Starts Here
A Joint Effort Sponsored by Community Care Behavioral Health Organization
and Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC