When is the best time to access care for mental health challenges? There’s a simple answer to that question: as soon as possible, because the longer a mental health issue remains untreated, the more serious it can become. That said, for teens, young adults, and families who have been considering treatment, summer is often the easiest and most convenient time to access the care they need.
Spending several weeks at a residential treatment center or in a full-day outpatient program during the summer can set young people up for a positive and rewarding year—and give them powerful tools for navigating the inevitable stressors and challenges of life. After treatment, teens can segue into an after-school outpatient program for the fall, while young adults can stay connected through continuing care and alumni support groups.
Why Start Mental Health Treatment During the Summer?
Here are five reasons why the summer months are often the easiest times to overcome obstacles to care and ensure that young people access the treatment they need to thrive.
1. Summer is a more convenient time to step away from activities and responsibilities.
For teens and young adults who are on school vacation, the summer months are more likely to be unstructured and unplanned. That makes it simpler to enter treatment; there’s no need to take a leave of absence from high school or college. Summer jobs or internships can be cancelled or postponed more easily than year-round activities. And while talking about treatment is a powerful way to reduce the stigma around mental health, accessing care during the summer means you have a choice about when and how much you want to reveal, rather than being required to share sensitive information with a high school or college administration.
2. The unstructured summer months can make mental health issues worse.
For teens in high school and young adults in college, the long summer break can make existing issues worse. While school can be hard for kids who are struggling with their well-being, it can also provide goals, purpose, and a sense of community. Without that structure and social connection, young people can experience more loneliness, depression, FOMO, and anxiety. There’s also the risk of increased drug use and drinking, which can lead to a substance use disorder. Seeking care in summer prevents problems from escalating, while helping young people find long-term recovery from underlying issues that get worse in summer.
3. It’s often easier during the summer to access treatment quickly.
Because going back to school tends to exacerbate problems and complicate existing mental health issues, many families tend to seek help during the fall months. That can make the admissions process lengthier and waitlists longer at both residential and outpatient treatment programs. In the summer, it’s often easier to expedite the admissions process and access open beds in residential care or open places in a Partial Hospitalization Program.
4. Teens and young adults gain the skills to support a positive transition back to school.
Along with healing the underlying trauma that catalyzes mental health disorders and behavioral issues, residential or outpatient treatment in the summer also gives young people the tools they need to go back to school strong, with the tools they need to succeed. Instead of the rocky and tumultuous start that they may have experienced in the past, they can step into the new school year with enhanced skills for emotional regulation, relationship building, and executive functioning. Treatment in summer can help teens avoid being held back a grade due to behavioral or mental health issues, and set young adults up with stronger skills for navigating college.
Newport Academy’s teen educational program is fully accredited and provides enhanced tutoring within a therapeutic environment, with individualized educational plans. Our specialized curriculum is designed to close proficiency gaps and help students grow their strengths, and our academic outcomes data shows that teens experience significant improvement in engagement, motivation, and organizational skills during their time with us. Newport Institute supports young adults to strengthen their executive functioning and life skills in order to successfully pursue their academic and career goals.
5. Treatment can be the most meaningful and memorable experience a teen or young adult has ever had.
Treatment isn’t a vacation, but it’s an experience that young people will never forget. While it’s hard work, it’s also incredibly rewarding for the client and the whole family. Young people overcome challenges within a safe environment, and build self-mastery and self-esteem, and discover new strengths. And within a supportive community of peers, teens and young adults often feel a sense of belonging and connection they’ve never felt before. Participating in experiential modalities, like Adventure Therapy and music therapy, gives young people time with caring friends and time outdoors in nature—two of the best parts of summer.
Contact us today to learn more about our programs for teens and young adults, with locations nationwide.