For parents of adolescents, it can often be difficult to discern between the normal ups and downs of teen life and the presence of a depressive disorder. Every adolescent will occasionally experience sadness, hopelessness, and related emotions; however, when these feelings occur with a frequency or severity that impacts the young person’s ability to function in a healthy and productive manner, a depressive disorder may be to blame.
Adolescents that demonstrate symptoms including the following: apathy, sleep disruptions, change in appetite, overwhelming sadness and despair, withdrawal, and a sense of hopelessness or helplessness may be experiencing a depressive disorder that requires professional intervention. At Youth Care, we understand the unique challenges faced by young people ages 11 to 17 who are struggling with depression, and we have developed highly effective programming that is specifically designed to help them overcome the issues that have been preventing them from achieving to their greatest potential.
Helping Your Child Get Treatment
Being the parent of an adolescent who has been exhibiting symptoms of depression can be a confusing and frustrating experience. The following steps can help you in your efforts to ensure that your child has the help and support that he or she needs:
- First, understand two important facts – this is not your fault, and you are not alone. The behaviors that your child is exhibiting are not evidence of poor parenting. They are symptoms of a treatable mental health condition that impacts many adolescents and families throughout the nation and around the world.
- Next, educate yourself about depression in general and the specific ways that depressive disorders can affect adolescents.
- Research the types of treatment that have helped others who were dealing with the same types of symptoms that your son or daughter is demonstrating, and identify the programs that appear to provide the care that best meets your child’s unique needs.
- Consult with your child’s pediatrician or your family doctor. While these professionals may not specialize in mental or behavioral healthcare, they can be a source of reliable information and referrals.
- Plan to be an active part of your child’s treatment and recovery. Enrolling your son or daughter in a residential program does not mean that you are giving up on him or her; instead, you are entering into a productive collaboration that will unite your valuable insights with the expertise of experienced professionals.
Finally, remember that treatment may just be first step in a long journey. Leave no doubt in your child’s mind that you will be with him or her every step of the way.
Why Consider Treatment at Youth Care
Untreated depression can have a devastating impact on any person’s life. When this disorder impacts an adolescent, the effects can truly be life altering. Depressive disorders can rob a person of the energy, focus, and motivation that are essential to making progress in school, developing healthy friendships, and otherwise building the solid foundation that will prepare a young person for a successful and satisfying adulthood. The setbacks that an adolescent experiences because of untreated depression can inflict lasting harm on his or her physical and mental health, academic progress, and future career prospects. In addition to the dealing with the symptoms of their depression, adolescents who struggle with untreated depressive disorders are also at increased risk for problems such as substance abuse, self-harm, and suicidal ideation.
Types of Treatment Offered at Youth Care
At Youth Care, we offer residential care for the treatment of depression in a peaceful, structured, home-like setting. In this comfortable, therapeutic environment, adolescents are able to receive the care they need in a realistic, family-like atmosphere that is fully conducive to true and lasting healing. Providing care for youth, aged 11 to 17, we, at Youth Care, are pleased to offer individualized programming that is tailored to meet each adolescent’s unique needs and enhance their already-existing skillset.
The residential program here at Youth Care is based on accountability, responsibility, and respect. A level system is used to provide constructive feedback to the students as they learn to show respect by displaying appropriate behaviors and earning privileges and increased levels of trust. This connection between accountability, responsibility, trust, and privileges is an important life lesson that can be used in our students’ future relationships and implemented as they achieve future successes.
At Youth Care, we believe in honoring the adolescents who are entrusted into our care by helping them understand the choices they have and the natural consequences that can occur as a result of the choices they make. We believe that this not only helps our students learn good decision-making skills, but it also enhances the confidence they have in themselves by showing them that they are capable of making those good decisions.
Throughout an adolescent’s time spent at Youth Care for the treatment of depression, he or she will have the opportunity to participate in the following interventions:
Medication management: The use of certain psychotropic medications may be beneficial in helping to alleviate the distressing symptoms that youth experience as a result of depression. Whether or not medication is used, however, will always be determined on a case-by-case basis, depending upon the particular needs of each adolescent. Students at Youth Care will meet with a psychiatrist once a week, and all medication management needs will be handled by the psychiatrist and Youth Care’s nursing and medical teams.
Individual therapy: Intensive individual therapy is a core component to the therapeutic process here at Youth Care. Students have the opportunity to meet with their primary therapists three times each week. Additionally, students can meet with an addictions counselor once per week if they are struggling with substance abuse concerns.
Group therapy: Group therapy sessions play a major role in the treatment plans of our students at Youth Care. Group sessions are held on a daily basis and are broken down as follows:
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) groups are held 1 time each week.
- Process groups are held 3 times each week.
- Music therapy groups are held 1 time each week.
- Addictions groups are held 1 time each week.
- Recreational therapy groups are held 2 times each week.
Family therapy: At Youth Care, we feel strongly that family integration is key in helping our students manage the symptoms of depression. Because of this, we work hard to ensure that our students’ families are heavily involved in the treatment process. Family therapy sessions are held once each week and are led by each student’s primary therapist. Additionally, Parent Days are held every 6 to 8 weeks, offering educational seminars, multifamily group therapy, parent support groups, family therapy sessions, and family recreational activities.
Recreational therapy: When students engage in treatment for depression at Youth Care, they will be offered a well-rounded approach to treatment that incorporates recreational activities into their schedules. Recreational therapy is designed to help students have a successful treatment experience by achieving physical, cultural, and social accomplishments. Recreational activities also provide students with opportunities to learn such valuable skills as teamwork, problem solving, communication, and trust. Furthermore, through participation in recreational activities, students can build better social skills, communication skills, coping skills, and interpersonal skills. They may also develop newfound interests, discover unknown talents, and experience an improvement in their self-esteem. Under the guidance and supervision of our licensed recreational therapist, students participate in in-house and community recreational activities 3 to 7 times per week.
Experiential therapy: In addition to the previously mentioned therapies, students receiving care for depression at Youth Care will have the opportunity to take part in different experiential therapies throughout the duration of their time spent in treatment. The frequency of these experiential therapies will be determined by each student’s primary therapist and may include the following:
- Expressive therapy
- Exposure therapy
Community service activities: Students will be involved in community service activities at least twice each month. We have found that having students participate in such activities affords them the opportunity to develop greater empathy and a broader understanding of others, both of which can aid in their own recovery. Examples of the community service activities that students may participate in include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Filling shelves at the Food Bank
- Visiting the elderly
- Caring for animals at the Humane Society
Academics: At Youth Care, we believe that every student deserves to achieve success in school and therefore view our academic programming as a therapeutic intervention. Our academic program is fully accredited, which allows students to earn school credits, increase their knowledge, and work towards achieving academic goals during their time at Youth Care. Students are enrolled in a full day’s curriculum, which takes place in a traditional academic setting and is led by a team of certified secondary education teachers and special education teachers who have been trained to work with students possessing a range of learning abilities. All students have academic goals and objectives included in their individualized treatment plans, and they will attend school from 9:00am to 5:00pm every weekday, with therapeutic interventions being interwoven throughout their daily schedules.
In addition to the residential treatment offered through Youth Care, we are also pleased to provide partial hospitalization programming (PHP) for students who do not require the intensity of the programming that is offered in a residential setting. This day treatment option allows youth to attend the same daily programming as those receiving residential treatment, yet return home at night.
If your child is suffering from the symptoms of depression and requires a safe, structured, and encouraging environment to work towards overcoming or managing his or her symptoms, look no further than Youth Care. Our specialized programming will be catered to meet your child’s every needs so that he or she can succeed in living the full, happy, healthy, and productive life that he or she deserves to be living.