Trails Carolina Wilderness Therapy Program Supports Mental Health Awareness Month

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Trails Carolina supports Mental Health Awareness month by promoting anti-bullying education

“As part of Mental Health Month we worked extensively with families to help them see and understand the struggles of their children," commented Jason McKeown, LMFT, CPE, DCC and Clinical Director of Trails.

Trails Carolina, a leading wilderness therapy program for children 10-17, supports Mental Health Awareness Month. For many teenagers, mental health issues are all too often misconstrued as raging hormones or a change in mood. These changes can mask real concerns, which is why it is important to promote mental health awareness. Throughout the month of May, Trails Carolina worked to educate families through its innovative Family Seminars on the specific mental health issue of bullying.

Mental health problems among children and youth are predicted to increase by 50% by 2020. Approximately one out of five adolescents have a diagnosable mental health disorder.

“As part of Mental Health Month we worked extensively with families to help them see and understand the struggles of their children," commented Jason McKeown, LMFT, CPE, DCC and Clinical Director of Trails. “Parents are then better able to recognize and support their child in the future when challenges such a bullying might arise.”

For Mental Health Awareness month, Trails focused on the damaging mental health effects of teen bullying. In the past, bullying ended at the end of a school day. Now, cyberbullying is posing a great deal of psychological stress on teens as it can occur any day and any time.

A recent study found that teen victims of cyber bullying showed more signs of depression than other bullying victims.

At Trails Carolina, part of family programming is based on a curriculum designed to help parents see the potential impact of bullying. Trails also works with their students to see the trauma bullying has created within themselves or how perhaps their bullying has impacted others. The goal is to help students and families recognize the signs and understand how to assist others dealing with the same trauma.

“Victims of bullying can develop self esteem issues, which lead to all sorts of other issues, such as depression and anxiety disorders,” says McKeown. “We never want our children to experience bullying if they do not have too, however in today’s environment, we cannot keep it from happening. Education, awareness, and how to handle potential bullying situations are essential to preparing our children."

Trails works with teens, as well as their parents and siblings to recognize the signs of mental illness. Then, Trails takes steps to help teens identify the ways in which they can change their behavior.

Below are resources recommended by Trails Carolina for additional information about bullying:
The Trevor Project (http://www.thetrevorproject.org/)
PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center (http://www.pacer.org/bullying/resources/)
StompOutBullying.org (http://stompoutbullying.org/)

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Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy program that offers a multi-dimensional wilderness therapy model to troubled adolescents, ages 10-17. Trails capitalizes upon the profound effects of a student’s wilderness experience, and then combines that experience with strong clinical assessments and therapy, and integrates a family systems approach to the overall treatment. At Trails, teens discover who they are and what they are capable of. For additional information, please visit http://trailscarolina.com/ or call 800-975-7303.

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John Singleton
Trails Carolina
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