New Programming for people on the Autism Spectrum/Neurodiversity

Two young male students discuss homework

Mental health treatment approach expanded with new initiative

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — CooperRiis, a residential healing community for individuals with mental health challenges, has established a new program for residents wanting to pursue college-level education while in treatment.

The College Program at CooperRiis integrates residential mental health treatment with specialized services designed to help residents achieve success in their college experience. The new initiative enhances the CooperRiis mission to provide personalized care that combines evidence-based clinical interventions, community work & service, education, and integrative wellness practices.

Learn more about the College Program

“We’re so pleased to offer this exciting new program to our residents,” said Eric A. Levine, Ed.D., President & CEO at CooperRiis. “Through this initiative, residents can return to school, or go for the first time, with the support of a team of professionals focused on helping them succeed.”

Levine has a doctorate in education leadership and more than 30 years of experience developing educational programming and helping young people with emotional and behavioral disabilities find appropriate support services. Tapping that expertise, Levine has created The College Program at CooperRiis specially designed to serve the residential treatment community population.

“The transition into college is a stressful time, and it can take a toll on the mental health of some students. It can also be a time when mental health problems emerge for the first time,” said Levine.

Studies show a rise in mental health issues on the nation’s college campuses. The American Psychiatric Association found that in 2017 about 34 percent of students were being treated for a mental health issue, compared to 19 percent of students in 2007. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reports that one in four young adults, ages 18-24, have a diagnosable mental illness.

Two young college students sit and chat

Residents participating in The College Program at CooperRiis receive an individualized recovery plan that includes specific supported education goals. Each resident is assigned a Recovery Team, which monitors treatment progress and determines when the resident is ready to enroll in school. The Recovery Team includes a psychiatrist, therapist, recovery coordinator and supported education coach.

Once a resident is enrolled, the education coach collaborates with the college to develop and implement a supported education plan. The coach works with the resident throughout the semester providing services including weekly educational coaching sessions, on-site intervention and mentoring, crisis support, and skills development.

Based at the CooperRiis campus in Asheville, NC, the new program will provide supported education services at three area colleges. For more, contact Kim Nelson, National Outreach Coordinator, at (828) 817-3783 or

Founded in 2003, CooperRiis serves individuals, ages 18 and up, struggling with social-emotional issues and mental illness, including anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, addiction and substance use, in supportive residential settings and community group homes.

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