What is Polaris: Polaris, or commonly referred to as the North Star, has been used for centuries to help people navigate a long and often difficult journey. Today young people face many challenges and stressors on their journey which can lead to serious mental health difficulties. One such challenge is living as a gender or sexual minority. Polaris is an 18 bed, acute care unit within Garfield Park Behavioral Hospital that provides a safe place where gender and sexual minority adolescents can receive affirming psychiatric care and help navigating their identity(s).
Polaris Mission Statement: To provide high quality, individually tailored and culturally-attuned psychiatric care to young people faced with challenges around their gender and/or sexual identity(s). Our approach is to support patients and families in achieving optimal psychological functioning by advocating for all individuals to be their authentic selves.
Polaris Vision: Every young person who is faced with challenges around their gender and/or sexual identity(s) will be given the most exceptional and affirming psychiatric care. Polaris will be a national center of excellence in providing psychiatric services for gender and sexual minority adolescents.
- Safety: Protecting the safety and health of our patients
- Respect: Treating all people with respect and dignity, including using a patient’s chosen name and pronouns
- Diversity: Creating an atmosphere of openness, trust, respect, and safety where diverse attitudes, beliefs, values, behaviors, and identities can be explored and discussed
- Service: Providing the highest quality psychiatric care
- Evidenced-based practice: Implementing the latest behavioral science research into clinical practice
Our philosophy: Polaris uses a minority stress model as a framework to view psychological and emotional distress in gender and sexual minority adolescents. Not all behavioral and emotional issues in gender and sexual minority adolescents are a result of psychopathology, but rather as result of living with an oppressed identity(s). Our clinical programming helps to target minority stress by using a multidisciplinary team approach, which consists of psychiatry, social work, psychology, nursing, and other mental health professionals who are trained in providing affirming and culturally responsive mental health services for gender and sexual minority adolescents. Polaris provides the most effective, affirming, and most up to date evidence-based treatments for gender and sexual minority adolescents, including individual, family, and group based psychotherapy.
- Culturally-attuned assessments
- Affirming individual, group, and family psychotherapy
- Expressive and activity therapies
- Identity specific discharge recommendations
- Medication evaluation and management
- Individualized treatment planning and weekly multi-disciplinary staffings
- Fully accredited educational programming and coordination with schools
- 24-hour safety monitoring
- Parent/Caregiver education
To schedule an intake assessment, please call 773-265-3700. We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Don’t forget to mention you are interested in the Polaris program.
For more information on Polaris please contact, Kyle Bullock, MSW – Program Manager of LGBTQ Services – 773-265-4376
Kyle received his Masters of Social Work from the University of Chicago and has worked with LGBTQ young people in several capacities, including as a psychotherapist and author of a transgender student guidebook for educators in Long Beach, CA.