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Yes We Can Youth Clinics founder and CEO Jan Willem Poot runs a Netherlands-based specialist treatment centre for 13 to 25-year-olds suffering from an array of mental health issues, addictions and related behavioural disorders. ‘Every day, I am proud to make a difference for the teenagers and young adults and their families,’ Poot tells Spear’s. ‘Our unconditional love and belief in the youngsters keeps on motivating me to reach out to and help as many young people as possible.’

Over the past 10 years, as demand for the unique 10-week Yes We Can residential treatment programme has grown, Poot has expanded the firm into a world-leading treatment centre. The firm employs over 330 professionals, the highest staff to client ratio in Europe. More than 5,000 young people have been through the programme to date, while the team has grown tenfold, with the clinic operating consistently at capacity.

Poot himself spent over a decade in and out of treatment until, aged 27, he finally found a centre that clicked. ‘My own experiences with mental healthcare have always served as my strongest motivation in creating the unique environment and approach of Yes We Can,’ he says. ‘By getting in to recovery, my life was given a very fortunate second chance. I learned that if I want to keep what I received, I have to give it away every day.’

The clinic offers an intensive English-speaking residential treatment programme and tailor-made aftercare. Fellows learn to acknowledge their problems, to get to the root of these problems, how to ask for help and how to deal with the issues they are facing. It’s ‘a warm and loving treatment programme and approach, balanced with confronting them at the right moment,’ explains Poot.

In week five, family members are requested to attend a four-day family coaching and counselling programme, designed to motivate parents and carers to take responsibility for their changed role. The clinic also sheds a light on what permanent recovery means for the entire family system, and the organisation also offers comprehensive advice on bespoke aftercare, either secondary and/or tertiary. It is now one of most respected youth treatment facilities in the world. Approximately seven out of 10 fellows no longer need intensive outpatient help on completion of the Yes We Can programme. Of those, 90 per cent stay in recovery after two years – a figure that is constantly being analysed and improved. As Poot says, ‘We have worked very hard to help thousands of young people – and we hope that in the future we are able to help many more young people from all over the world.’

‘I know from experience how beautiful life is in this way.’

Jan Willem Poot
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