2021 Journeys Magazine

Letter from the President

We’ve all seen the studies and polls describing the dramatic increase in mental health issues across our country. I am reporting directly from the frontlines: people and families truly need mental health care now more than ever. Treatment centers across the country are full, and Skyland Trail is no exception.

Physicians from three child and adolescent associations recently declared a national state of emergency for kids’ mental health. At the J. Rex Fuqua Campus for adolescents, we are receiving calls from families for help with teens who have been affected by the isolation of the pandemic.

The CDC reports that, among young adults ages 18 to 24 surveyed in 2020, about 25 percent had seriously considered suicide. At our adult campuses, the calls are coming in nonstop from families concerned about struggling college students as well as older adults in their families.

A ubiquitous theme for these times is, “we’re all in this together,” and that’s true in many ways. But for people with anxiety, depression, or thought disorders, the ongoing fear and uncertainty are particularly challenging, not to mention the losses so many have experienced – of coworkers, friends and family members.

To provide a window into what that can feel like, I hope you will read the story of adult Skyland Trail graduate, Ebony. Ebony admitted to our adult residential program in 2020 after pandemic-related changes in employment and personal losses of friends and family contributed to a significant depressive episode.

To learn more about what teens and their families are facing, read this story from an adolescent client family describing how the pandemic is affecting adolescents struggling with depression and anxiety.

Your support for Skyland Trail helps make this healing community possible for these clients, and so many others, especially when they need it most.

Your donations fund our financial aid program, which helps remove financial barriers to treatment for more than 40 percent of clients in our psychiatric residential and day treatment programs. Financial aid helps teens and adults access a safe space, a supportive peer community, and a multidisciplinary treatment team.

As we hopefully move on from the worst of this pandemic, we are excited to look toward the future. Within the next year, we plan to open an expansion of the J. Rex Fuqua campus for adolescents to include more space for client recreation and staff and family parking. And we recently embarked on a strategic planning process that will help guide exciting new initiatives as well as strengthen our core programs in the years to come. I look forward to sharing those plans with you as they take shape.

Thank you all for being such a vital part of the Skyland Trail community. We appreciate each of you and your steadfast support of all we do.

Sincerely,

Beth Finnerty signature

Beth Finnerty
President & CEO

DID YOU KNOW? 3 professional physician organizations have declared a national state of emergency for children's mental health