The choice of deciding to utilize a residential treatment can seem overwhelming and daunting. What questions do you ask? How do you know if this is the “right” choice? After all, parents want what’s best for their children even if it means lots of sacrifice and patience.
Over the past 8 years, I have been working in residential treatment as a mental health worker and therapist. Within that time, I have seen the positive impact residential treatment can have on mental health, depression and anxiety in teens. While residential treatment will not “fix” depression or anxiety, it can provide tools to promote emotional regulation, healthy relationships, and boost in self-esteem.
When to consider residential treatment
There are several common indicators a parent may see in a teen that may be in need of residential treatment:
- When weekly outpatient therapy does not seem to move the needle. It can be challenging to get the full picture of an adolescent in a weekly 60-minute session. Adolescents are often reluctant and difficult to build trust with therefore the application of skills can take time.
- When your child has had more than one hospital visit due to depressive symptoms. With depression it is common to experience hopelessness, however when it becomes consistently unsafe despite therapy and partial hospitalization, it might be time to consider a different course of treatment.
- When your child has pulled back from many activities consistently. This is a big sign of needing more help then wheat outpatient may be able to provide. Your child may be unable to attend school, hobbies, and friendships. When all three of these things seem impossible it is time to consider other options to help with development.
How residential treatment treats depression
One of the benefits of residential treatment is the variety of activities and therapies. For example, many offer animal therapy as well as sports and adventure. These two interventions alone tackle the symptoms of loss of interest and provide moments of confidence building for low self-esteem. Residential treatment can provide a holistic approach by monitoring and providing opportunity for healthy eating, sleeping, and medication management. Finally, the overall structure and schedule consistently implemented can provide greater relationship and community building which is the number one indicator for managing depressive symptoms.
If you are considering residential treatment, find online parent groups that can provide you with real time information about their experiences, successes, bumps, and overall growth they may have seen. Consult with your current therapist regarding what has worked for your child and what has not. Consider working with a therapeutic consultant to understand your child’s social, emotional and mental health needs and the types of programs that are geared to promote sustainable growth and change for your child. Lastly, take your time. The decision of enrolling in a residential treatment program is challenging and you want to make sure you can be a co-parent with the facility you choose.