Youth Stress & Mood Program (YSAM)

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We provide targeted care for pediatric, adult and geriatric patients. Call 800-825-9989 or 310-825-9989 to learn more about our psychiatry services. 

Clinic Overview

The Youth Stress and Mood Program at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is dedicated to improving health and mental health in children and adolescents, and developing and evaluating treatments and services for depression, self-harm, and suicide prevention. Our program focuses on enhancing coping and stress management in children and adolescents, supporting families in caring for their children, and developing services to meet the needs of diverse children and families. The program provides clinical services, training and education, involves collaborative work with community partners and families to strengthen community resources for depression, self-harm, and suicide prevention in youth. 

Directed by Dr. Joan Rosenbaum Asarnow, Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA, the Youth Stress and Mood Program offers the following services:

  1. Evaluation and brief interventions for enhancing safety in youth presenting with self-harm and/or suicidal ideation and/or behavior. This includes the brief SAFETY-Acute intervention (also called the Family Intervention for Suicide Prevention) listed on SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence Programs and Practices (NREPP) and designated by the SAMHSA-funded Suicide Prevention Resource Center as a “program with evidence of effectiveness.”
  2. More extended evaluations for youth presenting with depression, high levels of stress, and risk for suicide and self-harm.
  3. Youth dialectical-behavior therapy-informed treatment (Y-DBT). The UCLA YSAM program was a site for the largest completed randomized controlled trial of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) for adolescents. This trial supported the efficacy of DBT for reducing suicide attempts and self-harm among adolescents presenting with high levels of suicide and self-harm risk. The UCLA Y-DBT Program is fortunate to have an Advisory Board including: Dr. Alec Miller; Dr. Linda Dimeff; and Dr. Lynn McFarr.
  4. Individual and family centered cognitive-behavioral and family approaches. This includes the Safe Alternatives for Teens & Youth (SAFETY) treatment. SAFETY is a Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)-informed psychotherapy with both youth and parents/caregivers which has been recognized for evidence of efficacy in SAMHSA’s Youth Suicide Treatment Guide.
  5. Family consultation and support.
  6. YSAM aims to provide culturally sensitive and trauma-informed care to youth with diverse backgrounds. Some services are available in Spanish.

Who We See

Our clinic provides evaluations and treatment for children and adolescents experiencing depression, difficulties regulating emotion, suicidal thoughts and behaviors, and self-injurious behaviors. The clinic accepts a variety of insurance policies, with some services available through research projects at no charge (see below). 

Clinic Training & Educational Opportunities

The YSAM program is part of the SAMHSA-funded Center for Trauma-Informed Adolescent Suicide, Self-harm & Substance Misuse Treatment & Prevention (ASAP Center, Directed by Drs. Joan Asarnow at UCLA & Dr. David Goldston at Duke University). This Center offers extensive community training programs in evidence-based care for trauma, self-harm, and suicide prevention. The YSAM programs also offers training opportunities for externs, interns, post-doctoral fellows, with opportunities available for undergraduates interested in developing clinical research skills.

See for information regarding ASAP Center resources and trainings.

Research & Program Development & Evaluation Opportunities

The YSAM program is and has been engaged in a number of research projects funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, CDC, the Agency for Health Care Research & Quality, and other organizations. This work aims to improve knowledge, care, and outcomes for youth and families.

Opportunities to participate in research vary over time. Current projects include: 

Stepped Care for Suicide Prevention (NIMH). This randomized controlled trial evaluates two approaches for reducing suicide attempts and suicide attempt risk in adolescents and young adults within a large health system.

Project SAFE (American Psychological Foundation, APF). This project evaluates an innovative approach to youth evaluation that includes checks on how youth are doing in real time in their natural environments using an approach called ecological momentary assessment.

ASAP Center (SAMHSA). The ASAP Center reaches out to stakeholders including parents and youth, clinicians, and health and mental health program and policy decision makers with the goal of improving care and outcomes for children, adolescents, young adults, and families. This provides opportunities to participate in stakeholder interviews, focus groups, and forums aimed at improving care and developing products that will support improved care. The Center also includes: Advisory Boards composed of parents, youth/young adults, and other stakeholders; and partnerships with a broad range of health and mental health systems and community clinical settings providing health and behavioral health care. 

Program Schedule

Intake evaluations: Friday 3-6 pm

Sessions are scheduled throughout the week as needed


Intake evaluations: Fridays from 1-5 pm

Clinic Day and Time: Thursdays from 5-6:30 (via Zoom)

Telephone: For an appointment, please call Andrew Alvarez at (310)-794-4962

Address: 300 UCLA Medical Plaza, Suite 1236 Los Angeles, Ca 90095

Email address: [email protected]