We are parents of a Skyland Trail adolescent graduate. Although going through this experience with our daughter was traumatic, exhausting, scary and just plain awful, Skyland Trail was amazing. Let’s start from the beginning.
Our daughter, 13 years old at the time, was a happy, extroverted, well-rounded, thriving kid. She had a million friends, was involved in a slew of extracurricular activities, was a straight-A student in school, and loved by all who knew her. Then in March of 2020, the world as we knew it came to a screeching halt with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. School became virtual, activities were cancelled, friends weren’t allowed to see each other in person, and our daughter became depressed, lethargic, anxious and extremely unhappy. We put her on an antidepressant, which actually made things worse. She had a terrible reaction. Over the next several months our daughter went to various types of therapy including one on one, IOP and PHP, and was put on several different types of medication. She also had 2 stints in the hospital. After her second hospital stay we knew we needed something more. Both professionals and clients of the program had recommended Skyland Trail to us. We called to set up an evaluation. A month later we dropped our daughter off for what would be a 6-week stay at Skyland Trail.
This was THE BEST decision we ever made! Skyland Trail literally changed the trajectory of our daughter’s recovery in the most positive way. From the very beginning we knew this place was special. The staff is just spectacular. In fact, they are so great that we asked some to continue care after she was release, which they couldn’t do. Right from the start we had constant contact with the staff. We had weekly family therapy sessions. The psychiatrist called us weekly to discuss her thoughts after meeting with our daughter. We were able to speak with our daughter twice a week outside of therapy to see how she was and let her just be with her siblings and us.
The various types of therapy that Skyland uses were extremely successful for our daughter. She loved music therapy and herbology. The DBT therapy was probably the most helpful for her. She still uses many techniques that she learned to this day. The program also incorporates their schoolwork. They worked directly with the school to coordinate all of her academics so that when she did return to school she wasn’t behind. Another component that we loved about Skyland Trail was the rigidity of the program. The kids must keep their rooms clean, do their laundry, keep good hygiene, exercise, eat healthy meals, etc. This was all so helpful when she graduated and came home. We had a written plan to continue all these things at home that were put into place at Skyland.
Our daughter went into Skyland a shell of herself. When she came out 6 weeks later she was well on her way towards recovery. Our daughter continues to use the structure, techniques and ideas that were taught to her at Skyland. She is now a thriving, happy teenager again. She is constantly working on her mental health, as this is something that will always be a part of her. However, since Skyland she is now better prepared and has more knowledge on how to deal with whatever is thrown her way.
We cannot recommend Skyland Trail enough. Mental health is a serious problem, especially in teens that we must acknowledge and face head on. With the program at Skyland Trail adolescents are given the support and tools they need to thrive. It was the one thing that truly worked for our daughter.
Extremely Grateful Parents
This article was published in Journeys Magazine 2021