Meet our Yellowbrick admissions team:
The best way to address your uncertainty is to lean into it and reach out for support in a relationship. We welcome hearing from you at 866-234-0222.
An Admission Coordinator will respond to your questions with no financial obligation or need to make a commitment. Families have found it useful to go slow, get to know each other, review the website and materials, perhaps proceed with a visit and tour as part of their decision-making.
Yellowbrick is a private, physician-owned, and operated psychiatric healthcare organization whose mission is to provide a full-spectrum, specialized approach to the emotional, psychological and developmental challenges of adolescents, emerging adults, and their families. Yellowbrick offers specialty program services at residential, Partial Hospitalization, and IOP levels of care.
The Residence is a four-flat apartment building with three three-bedroom apartments and a two-bedroom garden apartment where up to fifteen residents live during treatment. Additional community space is provided for group activities, leisure, and administrative offices. Yellowbrick establishes a safe, strengthening, and challenging environment in which emerging adults can acquire the skills and competencies necessary to effectively manage their lives.
Yellowbrick Residence, located on Sheridan Road one block from Lake Michigan, and the Yellowbrick Consultation & Treatment Center are both in the city of Evanston on Chicago’s North Shore. Evanston is a vibrant community with a population of 75,000 people and the home of Northwestern University. Along with its active, thriving, and diverse neighborhoods, Evanston is safe and has excellent public services, resources, and transportation.
Yellowbrick sees a broad spectrum of psychiatric and developmental difficulties. What every patient has in common is that they’re all in emerging adulthood and that they’ve all experienced a serious discontinuity in their development due to psychiatric problems. Restoring and facilitating development is the focus. We address the specific symptomatic problems, from substance abuse to anorexia, but also the core structural aspects of the disruption in their development. We try to help them get back on track with themselves, their support system, and their ambitions in education, work, or community service.
Separation and loss are powerful stressors throughout the life cycle. Individuals also have neurobiological differences and experiences which create vulnerabilities towards emotional disruption. 75% of all psychiatric illnesses manifest within the decade of 15-25 years of age. Once you move out of the family home and your anchoring community, there’s an enormous drop-off in the architecture of support, and people who are vulnerable begin to experience psychological distress. Depending on the choices they make, they can quickly begin to find themselves in trouble.
No. Yellowbrick is not licensed as a hospital and is not an acute care setting. While residents may be struggling with distressing experiences and problematic behaviors, Yellowbrick is not suitable for patients whose psychiatric or medical condition requires skilled or nursing supervision for behavioral control or safety. Medications are stored in secure individual lockers and are opened with direct staff support and education. Yellowbrick Residence Core Competence Staff (CCS), in addition to the support of the strong peer community and culture, are on-site 24/7 as a resource.
Symptomatic behaviors are anticipated and are a focus in treatment. It is required that these behaviors do not place the resident or others at risk for personal or medical safety. Daily assessment and monitoring with 24-hour in-residence crisis evaluation on-call will determine if residents require temporary referral to North Shore University Evanston Hospital. CCS, in addition to the support of the strong peer community and culture, are on-site as an adult resource. CCS is supported by Yellowbrick’s MD on-call system 24/7.
Professional staff and the Yellowbrick community provide intensive skilled support, relationships, and growth opportunities as an alternative to the behavioral control required in acute care settings.
The residents at Yellowbrick are provided with a naturalistic, real-time setting. They live with us and live out who they are, and it allows the underlying impairments to be exposed. They have all the challenges and responsibilities that people have in real life, everything from getting up in the morning to going to a job interview, and we’re able to see their successes and difficulties in response to those challenges. Staff don’t take responsibility for their safety; they do. All choices remain available and are not controlled by staff; rather staff provides skilled assistance with “real-time” presence to assist with tension-filled moments of choice. Emerging adults will not engage authentically in relationships where others hold power over them, because it’s a time of life where they are working on becoming autonomous. We believe the way people change is through relationships, and to have genuine relationships you must have a collaborative relationship. They can access help in times where they feel they need it, but whether they access it or not is their responsibility. Difficulties in accessing help, for example, shame, become a focus in the treatment. If you never take risks, you never find out who you are or grow. This is supported by research on neurogenesis in the brain.
Yellowbrick’s assessment and consultation process defines the core strengths and struggles integral to a realistic vision of an authentic life plan. We offer two levels of assessment:
The assessment consulting team meets with the emerging adult and his or her family to discuss findings and recommendations for a course of action. We provide a useful written report of our findings, integrating previous evaluations and including specific recommendations for treatment. More broadly, discussion shapes a strategic life plan as to what will be needed to help launch the emergent adult onto a fulfilling and successful life path. A summary report is made available within a week of the assessment and a comprehensive assessment report about a month afterward.
For your convenience, you may download a pdf file of our Assessment Brochure.
Yellowbrick works with a diverse population of individuals. They are emerging adults whose emotional and behavioral difficulties impair daily functioning and/or derail developmental momentum. Yellowbrick is appropriate for a range of psychiatric disorders including, but not limited to:
Yellowbrick is not suitable for everyone. Those suffering from developmental disorders with reduced intelligence or severe limitations in relationships would not benefit from Yellowbrick’s in-depth psychotherapeutic model. Individuals with histories of committing sexual abuse or violence and any crime involving trespass of physical safety to another person will be excluded.
Persons with a history of antisocial behavior and an incapacity for concern for others are not suitable for a setting that relies on community relationships as a cornerstone for treatment.
Prospective residents and their families must demonstrate the willingness and capacity for treatment along with a personal pay financial commitment. Admission is entirely voluntary and a prospective resident’s ability to make use of the treatment is evaluated during the assessment process. Residents must agree to abide by the Yellowbrick Community Agreements as described in the Yellowbrick Handbook. These agreements allow for a safe individual and Community process which supports adaptive rather than self-damaging choices.
Residents will be encouraged to perform a minimum of three hours per week of volunteer work in the community. Most residents, after a period of full participation, will also be working or attending school on a part-time basis. Intensive group programming is scheduled during the early morning into early afternoon to allow for daily community, educational or career-building activities.
Residents are expected to attend all treatments and to learn how to accept help and invite assistance from others to diminish symptoms. However, the treatment community does not assume responsibility for residents’ choices. It is accepted that residents may have periods of symptomatic behavior. Through periodic treatment review, Quality Assurance, consultation, and the Community process, it will be determined if an individual’s persistent symptomatic behavior represents his or her inability to further benefit from Yellowbrick at that time.
Random breathalyzer and urine toxicology tests will also be required for all residents and staff. Anyone bringing alcohol or illegal substances into Yellowbrick will be reviewed for administrative discharge. This will also apply to any contraband that, if misused, presents a threat to the safety or integrity of the Yellowbrick or Evanston community. Yellowbrick is a non-smoking and non-vaping Residence. The only true rules at Yellowbrick are related to fire safety; no open flames in The Residence and required participation in fired drills.
Personal safety is considered an individual responsibility, with professionals and the community providing support for the residents’ struggle to maintain their self-management. All explicit or implicit threats to safety will result in an assessment for increased support of various kinds within Yellowbrick or, as necessary, transfer to the North Shore University Evanston Hospital Emergency Room.
Residents will be challenged with all of the actual tasks of independent and communal living (with a roommate), but will also be aided with intensive support resources beyond those available even in most inpatient hospital settings. Emerging adults in The Residence are involved in an individualized plan focusing on discussion and implementation of life-skill strategies and membership in the Yellowbrick community process. Specialized programming for substance abuse, eating disorders, and trauma/ abuse are available.
Yellowbrick’s treatment services are delivered and directed by a full-time, senior, and expert professional staff with decades of experience working with emerging adults, directing treatment programs, and serving as teachers, supervisors, and consultants.
The Minding the Brain/Life Strategies Program is organized around the concept of developmental and interpersonal neurobiology. Each group addresses one or more of the universal challenges of the transition to adulthood. Specialty IOP’s are organized around specific challenges of individuals struggling with Trauma Recovery, Addictions, and other Compulsive Behavior Disorders, and disorders with a troubled relationship between the body and self-experience (Soma-Self). Individuals may participate in full or partial programming.
There is no minimum or maximum length of stay at Yellowbrick. Most of the individuals coming for treatment at Yellowbrick have not received sufficient benefit from prior short-term, supportive, skills-based programs. It is a simple fact of nature that the brain does not change its default patterns without intensity, disruption, and repetitive challenges. Yellowbrick’s outcome research, consistent across the field, is that progress in treatment accelerates when there is maximum immersion in order to reach a pivot point where choices become mindfully explicit and not simply automatic. The best outcomes at Yellowbrick are associated with lengths of stay of at least 4-6 months at varying levels of care.
A comprehensive career services program is also available including:
Yellowbrick offers emerging adults the ability to be active simultaneously in their treatment and their lives in the Evanston community. The Yellowbrick culture encourages residents to volunteer three hours a week, which we help to coordinate. Through our Educational and Career Services, Planning, Training, and Placement Services, we will also help facilitate employment with area business and admission to classes at the local colleges and universities. Evanston offers many opportunities for exploring the arts and recreation, as well.
Yes. The intent is for Yellowbrick to function as a normative community setting where residents aged 18 or older are fully responsible and active in their treatment while continuing to live their lives. Yellowbrick provides a specialized, personal approach to each individual based on that person’s requirements. Residents begin working in the community or going to school in a prescribed manner timed to their course in the treatment.
The emerging adult begins to work with the Career Specialist upon admission to Yellowbrick Residence. Individualized plans revolve around the young adult’s goals. We provide assistance to achieve these goals at whatever level is needed. The options upon leaving The Residence can include moving to an Independent Supported Apartment while attending school or working. At this phase of treatment, an individualized treatment plan is put into effect that includes prescriptive continuation in IOP services at Yellowbrick, and full support from membership in the Yellowbrick community. Should home visits be necessary, these will be arranged.
They have a lot of energy! A lot of the people we see have a lot of energy and ability, and they’re very bright, but their emotional problems got in the way. With help, their talents and abilities come out. And they have families that care about them and are deeply invested in them. Another strength is that emerging adults are hungry for attachments, especially with peers but also with adults outside the family. We’re trying to engage that in a way that will have a positive impact on their development.
Family involvement begins within the Assessment process. A Family Liaison is available for timely discussions with families about inter-current events and questions which may arise. Monthly Family Rounds are strategic planning meetings for the treatment, identify any family relationship issues requiring further discussion, and offer opportunities for parents to raise concerns. Monthly Parents as Partners weekends are held on the second full weekend of every month and involve a variety of educational and discussion forums. Family therapy focused on enhancing communication and identifying pathways for mutual needs in family relationships is prescribed where indicated. We don’t speak for emerging adults. They speak for themselves, and we encourage that; in fact, we require it. So much of what has gone awry is that the emerging adults have lost their sense of agency, their belief that they can do things effectively, and we think it really has to come from them and be about them for it to work. Only they can really speak for who they are and what’s going on inside them.
Yellowbrick’s goal in working with emerging adult families is to promote connected autonomy. This means establishing the relationship between parent and emerging adult where mutually they are able to bring who they are and what they need forward, and the other person is able to say here’s who I am in relation to that. We try to make the parent-child relationship more mutual and collaborative. If emerging adults have been having mental health problems for a while, parents often have necessarily felt the need to take more power. We promote power-sharing through family negotiation through increased understanding.
We view parents as integral partners in treatment, and we have a variety of ways, formal and informal, to support that partnership.
There are several ways in which parents receive information about treatment progress and recommendations from Yellowbrick. At Yellowbrick, we believe Emerging Adults should develop a strong and present voice in matters relating to their treatment, and we try not to undermine or circumvent that process by speaking for them. When we share our impressions and recommendations to parents, it is usually in the context of Family Rounds or family therapy, when the Emerging Adult is present and can participate in the discussion. Your Family Liaison can be another source of information about treatment participation and progress. In addition, a written Treatment Plan Update is prepared approximately every four weeks, with a copy sent to parents that also contains a narrative summary of the preceding treatment period along with an updated checklist of the individualized Treatment Goal Tracker.
It’s probably best to expect that your Emerging Adult will need a period of separation from you, especially in the initial weeks of treatment, in order to work on adjusting to Yellowbrick, building autonomy and connections with peers, and developing more capable self-expression and self-awareness. We recommend that you take your cues from your Emerging Adult as to how often and in what ways you keep in touch. Please feel free to contact your Family Liaison with any pressing concerns or questions in the meantime. (And please see “Six Degrees of Separation” in the Yellowbrick Handbook for some helpful ideas about navigating this transition – p. 45-46.)
Does Yellowbrick take my insurance?
Yellowbrick is a private pay facility. Yellowbrick is not contracted with any insurance companies. This does not mean that you will not receive benefits but rather that benefits will be rated for out-of-network providers.
Does Yellowbrick bill my insurance?
Yellowbrick does not bill insurance companies. You will receive from Yellowbrick an invoice that can be submitted to insurance. If you need assistance with this process you can contract with SJ Health Insurance Advocates, an agency that handles all facets of the insurance billing and claims process.
Yellowbrick encourages all patients, families and/or guarantors to directly contact their insurance company to learn about specific benefit coverage and criteria for medical necessity prior to initiating an assessment or treatment.
Insurance companies determine eligibility for assessment and treatment based on medical necessity. It is imperative that the patient, family, and/or guarantor, are aware of the criteria applied by your insurance plan. Establishing medical necessity is a prerequisite for accessing your benefits and authorization of your assessment and/or treatment. Even under stress or time constraints, it is extremely important to make yourself aware of benefit limitations and any other requirements your insurance company may have.
You may consider requesting that your referring clinician attempt preauthorization prior to your admission. You will receive a monthly invoice for services from Yellowbrick. There are administrative fees for subsequent requests for additional invoices and for copies of medical records.
If your insurance company denies care, Yellowbrick’s staff psychiatrist will participate in one expedited physician peer review. If your insurance company denies authorization of care after the physician peer review, we will, upon your request, continue to support you through further appeals by sending your completed medical record for a standard appeal after discharge. For results of appeals and status updates, we encourage you to contact your insurance company directly. We are not notified of post-discharge appeal results nor do we track or follow the post-discharge appeals process. It is the responsibility of the patient, family and/or guarantor to pursue any subsequent appeals options offered by your insurance company once we have submitted your entire medical record for a standard appeal the following discharge.
Finally, based on past experience, it is common for authorization and claims reimbursement from insurance companies to be a lengthy process. We are happy to provide the clinical information and documentation required by your insurance company as outlined above. Yellowbrick requires payment in full at the initiation of the assessment or admission into any of Yellowbrick’s programs.
Yellowbrick recognizes the financial strains associated with parents’ support of their emerging adult’s treatment. We encourage parents to discuss their individual circumstances and available options with Cynthia Navas, Director of Business Services (firstname.lastname@example.org) available by phone at 847-869-1500 x 222.
Yellowbrick collaborates with adolescents and emerging adults, ages 16-30's, their families and participating professionals toward the development and implementation of a strategic “Life Plan.” An integrative, multi-specialty consultation clarifies strengths, limitations, and risks, and defines motivations, goals and choices.
A mental health condition that’s characterized by intense shifts in mood including both manic and depressive episodes.
People living with Major Depressive Disorder, or MDD, experience episodes of depression and sadness that are debilitating to daily life.
Those living with anxiety disorders experience high levels of anxiety and stress that interfere negatively with daily life.
A mental health issue in which a person’s cognitive function is impaired, resulting in symptoms like experiencing challenges with conducting speech, reading and writing, and behavior.
Mental health disorders that negatively affect a person’s behaviors, thought patterns, and function. People diagnosed with these disorders experience challenges with managing relationships and understanding various situations.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental health condition that people can develop as a result of experiencing traumatic situations, characterized by symptoms including flashbacks, avoidance behaviors, and more.
A mental health condition that is characterized by specific symptoms of forgetfulness and lack of concentration, which makes it challenging to complete necessary tasks.
Mental health conditions that interfere with a person’s eating habits, thought patterns, and behaviors in negative ways.
A mental health disorder diagnosable with the DSM-5 that is characterized by both obsessions and compulsive behaviors.