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Susan B

The Search for Hope

I entered the mental health morass as the result of helping my daughter and her husband find a treatment program for my then 20-year-old granddaughter, Madison. Significant traumas –emotional, societal and physical – had destroyed a vibrant, driven and loving soul. The desperate search for resources to save this beautiful life began.

As a long-term business leader and innovation specialist, I thought I intuitively knew the process to find just the right program for her. How wrong I was! Accustomed to being in environments where there was clarity, transparency and high standards of service, I was thrown by the business complexities, financial focus and secondary concern for the patients of the mental health organizations I researched. I read hundreds of reviews by patients and employees of the institutions trying desperately to find the “gold” in mental health treatment. After hours of research and numerous conference calls, we traveled as a family hundreds of miles to a center we thought was “perfect.” What we experienced was deplorable – all the beautiful pictures, superb programs and outside activities were falsely represented. We returned home deflated, and worse, Madison returned home terrorized by the experience. In our minds, we were fearful that we would never be able to persuade her to enter any other program.

Sue B helped her granddaughter find residential psychiatric treatment

The assurance that my granddaughter was going to live – not just exist, but be the vibrant, driven, successful and loving soul she had been in the past – made me forever thankful to God for the team at Skyland Trail. 

Desperation sent me back through all I had researched, and I found my notes on Skyland Trail. I had a fairly positive call with a representative and decided I would schedule a personal visit. The professionalism, resources, and programs were in direct contrast to what we had experienced in the past… Skyland Trail might be the answer to our many prayers. A second visit was scheduled with Madison. As we entered the administration building, Madison was like steel – every wall up, as closed as one could be. The admissions representative gently guided Madison through the tour, intuitively sensing her resistance and fear. Through the next two hours, we slowly saw the crumbling of her walls and the softening of her face – there was hope.

Madison entered the day treatment program in January 2017, eventually moving into the residential program in March 2017. Graduation followed in April 2017. She experienced, as did we, the care of the “total person”. The management of her physical health issues, DBT skills training, psychological assessment and oversight, group therapy sessions, medication assessment and genetic tolerances, fun and play therapies, substance, meditation and relationship counseling established a strong foundation to take her back into the world. But the care did not end at graduation. Recommendations on a therapist for continuing care has been an invaluable blessing.

The assurance that my granddaughter was going to live – not just exist, but be the vibrant, driven, successful and loving soul she had been in the past – made me forever thankful to God for the team at Skyland Trail. Their dedication, honesty, persistence and compassion saved not only my granddaughter’s life, but brought hope to our entire family.

How do you repay an organization for saving a precious life? Communications such as this—yes. However, we all have the opportunity to share how an incredible mental health organization can impact our neighbors, the people we work with or who we encounter in everyday life. My daughter, Madison’s mom, has encountered many people in her line of work who suffer from mental illness or their families are plagued with mental illness, severe depression, or substance abuse. Her experiences with Madison have given her the gift of being able to guide many people in the right direction. Skyland Trail is always at the forefront of these conversations – which is her way of giving back. 

The greatest gift I could give was providing funds for another precious life to receive the treatment and healing that he or she so desperately needs. My financial gift can literally save a life. What greater act of compassion is there? Skyland Trail will forever be a significant recipient of my charitable giving. In addition, the “match” from my corporation just adds to the financial assistance provided to patients.  

Thankfully, the stigmas that surround mental disorders are slowly being shattered as individuals share their personal journeys with family and friends and in public forums. Insurance organizations are slowly realizing that caring for the mental health of an insured individual will lead to a healthier physical life – treatments are not exclusive, but inclusive. Sadly, the loss of life of well-known TV personalities has created front page mental health news read by millions. Tragedy has opened doors in people’s thinking and perceptions of this silent and hidden plague.

So, what can be done to benefit the Skyland Trail mental health cause?

  • Openly share your Skyland Trail experience
  • Refer families to Skyland Trail
  • Encourage families and friends to care for emotional and mental health issues just as they care for their heart
  • Give generously and gladly