Students Using Courage Confidence and Emotional Support for Success spells SUCCESS!
SUCCESS is a fast-paced program that offers clinical mental health, comprehensive community support services, and academic support to students ages 8 through 19 in northern New Mexico. The program is spearheaded by Brian Salazar, of Taos Behavioral Health. Brian is a licensed mental health counselor who practices both family and youth therapy. He lives in Costilla, and has been working in Taos for 16 years. Driving through Questa, he relates that it would almost break his heart—he knew he could do so much for the youth of Questa, and he felt like he was truly needed here. Now, Taos Behavioral Health has opened a Questa office at the Questa Youth Center, and Brian is very excited to be a part of the transformation that he sees happening in the community, especially with the youth.
The SUCCESS program seeks to support adolescents and teens with their transition into adulthood with skills to navigate emotional stability, healthy decision-making, and self-advocacy. Students have unique opportunities to engage in many therapeutic activities, such as milieu-based therapy groups, virtual, or face-to-face group therapy.
Other activities build confidence and self-esteem with wraparound services for all life areas, including financial, social, emotional, behavioral, and recreational domains. SUCCESS’s culturally competent programming expands students’ experiences to activities outside of their familiar socioeconomic or cultural situation. The program demographic includes students with Independent Education Plans (IEP), developmental delays, cognitive deficit disorders, severe emotional disturbances, severe mental illness, involvement with the Juvenile Probation Office, Children Youth and Families Department protective services, gang affiliations, and substance abuse. Approximately 90% of the SUCCESS students come from local Latino, Native American, or Anglo families suffering the effects of generational trauma and colonization.
Currently, the therapy that the SUCCESS program offers include individual, family, group, and milieu therapy with a theoretical foundation in family systems and client-centered therapy.
Active group therapy includes girls’ group, boys’ group, and LGBTQIA group. The program will expand their group therapy to meet additional needs. SUCCESS also uses a trauma-based approach to support emotional stability and treatment.
SUCCESS students use art to express their struggles, their lives, and their successes. The SUCCESS program hosted a SUCCESS Art Gallery on April 23 from 10 am – 2 pm at Questa Youth Center. It was open to the public during the Earth Day Workday Celebration at the adjacent Questa Municipal Park, and many workers enjoyed seeing the variety of expressions.
Brian Salazar, LMHC, received his Bachelors Degree in Psychology with a minor in Chicano Studies, from Colorado State University. Brian received his Masters in Counseling from Southwestern College in Santa Fe. Brian has worked as a health care professional since 1999 in the Taos community. Before joining Taos Behavioral Health, Brian worked at CYFD, Los Angelitos y Ensuenos, UNM Health Education, and UNM HEP program. Brian’s career goal is to help strengthen children and families to create opportunities for success.