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My son, Tommy

December 11, 2018

Skyland Trail gave my son back to me. It’s as simple as that. At age 21, Tommy had a mental health crisis that required hospitalization in November 2015. I knew he was struggling but didn’t know how severe it was until his close friends called me one Sunday afternoon and asked me to drive up to Athens and take him to the hospital.

What followed his hospitalization were several weeks of uncertainty while we tried to find the best place for him to work on his recovery. Fortunately, he was willing to start outpatient therapy at Skyland Trail. After the first week, he and the staff agreed that residential treatment would be more beneficial to him, and his father and I applied for and received a generous financial aid package which made residential treatment possible. Tommy spent two months in residence , learning not only cognitive and interpersonal skills but working on healthier life habits . And as a musician, he was able to pursue his talent and passion for music at the same time. Tommy’s father and I also benefited from attending support groups and family therapy with Tommy.

The holistic approach to recovery that the compassionate and professional Skyland Trail staff provided was exactly what Tommy needed to get his feet back on solid ground. I am proud to report that Tommy was able to go back to UGA and finish his degree with flying colors after completing his program at Skyland. He is working full time in Athens and recently went on a successful tour with his band. He continues to work with a therapist recommended by Skyland staff, and she has helped him through two big transitions—from Skyland back to school, and from being a student to starting a career. Best of all, I have my caring, funny, smart, talented son back and our relationship has never been better.

Every single person with mental health issues like Tommy’s deserves the kind of wraparound treatment that Tommy was fortunate to receive at Skyland Trail. Unfortunately, our insurance system is not oriented around complete treatment and full recovery, but only pays enough to get a patient through an immediate crisis. Without financial aid from Skyland, we would never have been able to get Tommy the treatment he needed for as long as he needed it. Tommy not only needed to learn new skills and habits of mind, he needed to practice those skills in a safe environment until he was ready to go back out on his own.

As a grateful alumni parent, I am committed to giving back to Skyland Trail. I can’t begin to repay the generosity of donors who make financial aid possible or to adequately express my joy at having my son back, healthy, strong, and pursuing his dream of becoming a musician, but every dollar counts.