Making the decision to enroll yourself or a loved one in residential treatment can be difficult. It’s hard for young adults to leave their daily life, or for parents to send a teen away from home.
However, the long-term benefits of this choice can be life changing. Research shows that the structure and ongoing support of a residential program is the most effective way to achieve long-term recovery from depression, anxiety, trauma, and co-occurring behavioral issues like substance use disorder, eating disorders, and self-harm.
The Top 10 Benefits of Residential Treatment
Here’s why this level of care can provide the most impactful and sustainable healing for teens and young adults.
1. A fresh start in a new environment
Research shows that changing your environment entirely can be significantly beneficial for your mental health. Creating a geographical distance between their past and their future can help young people resolve old wounds, break habits that aren’t serving them, and make a new start. Equally important, stepping out of an unhealthy environment minimizes exposure to old trauma and anxiety triggers, as well as access to alcohol and substances.
2. Access to the highest-quality care
When researching mental health options, it’s natural to begin the search close to home. However, the best mental health treatment for an individual’s needs may not be available locally. In fact, as a result of the current shortage of mental health providers and treatment programs, the likelihood is that the highest-quality program won’t be in your immediate area. Making the choice to travel for care means that you have access to a broad range of options.
Learn the five top indicators of quality mental healthcare.
3. Better treatment outcomes
Traveling for care results in better success rates, as long-term residential treatment (30–45 days minimum) is proven to yield higher rates of sustainable recovery. While the distance, time, and financial investment may seem daunting at first, there is nothing more important than your teen or young adult’s well-being. Don’t wait for symptoms to resolve themselves—the likelihood is that, without treatment, mental health and behavioral issues will get worse, not better. When it comes to mental health conditions and treatment, taking the steps to move from awareness to action can literally save the life of a teen or young adult.
4. Specialized programming options
Teens and young adults benefit most from programming that’s specific to their needs and stage of life, with staff who are trained and experienced in working with these age groups. Moreover, families may not be able to find care in their local area for less common mental health conditions. For example, obsessive-compulsive disorder requires specialized care using Exposure and Response Prevention therapy. If young people are willing to travel for care, they can receive evidence-based treatment that’s proven to be most effective for their diagnosis.
5. Positive peer connections
For teens and young adults struggling with mental health issues, difficult relationships with peers are a major factor in depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Whether they’re experiencing bullying, a painful breakup, or an unsupportive friend group, relationship issues can have a tremendous negative effect on young people. In a residential program away from home, clients have the opportunity to build trusting relationships with peers who truly understand what they’re going through, in an environment that values honesty, openness, and mutual support. Young people experience—sometimes for the first time—what it’s like to be their full, authentic self.
6. Fewer distractions from treatment
While outpatient treatment and weekly therapy are incredibly powerful, young people with higher-acuity mental health conditions often do better when the distractions of everyday life are minimized. They don’t have to deal with family conflict, friend group drama, midterms, an after-school job, or other responsibilities. Instead, they can focus entirely on healing and growth, with the help of a treatment team that’s dedicated to their care and a supportive community of peers.
7. Structure to practice healthy habits
There’s a difference between learning healthy behaviors and actually doing them on a daily basis in order to build a habit. In a residential treatment program, young people have a built-in structure that supports the development of new, positive lifestyle practices. Daily schedules include self-care, journaling, mindfulness, and physical activities, alongside intensive clinical programming. At Newport’s residential locations, each client has a tailored treatment plan, with schedules that include individual, group, and family therapy; academic and life skills education; and experiential activities.
8. More time dedicated to healing
In residential treatment, the entire experience is part of the healing process—including meals with peers and staff and evening and weekend activities, in addition to a full schedule of therapeutic programming during the week. And therapy doesn’t always happen in an office—the most powerful experiences might take place on a surfboard, in a yoga class, on a hike, or during an impromptu chat with a staff member. There’s also time for self-reflection, creative expression, and connection with self and others. Experts say that two or three months’ time in residential treatment is equivalent to a year’s worth of weekly 50-minute therapy sessions.
9. New experiences that build self-esteem
Treatment can be challenging—and healthy, supported challenge is a powerful path to growth and change. Residential treatment include experiential activities that build young people’s self-esteem, skills, and ability to navigate change and take healthy risks. The benefit comes from stepping outside the box within a safe, supported container that allows teens and young adults to push themselves in positive ways. Experiential activities at Newport’s teen and young adult locations nationwide range from sledding, zip lining, and snowboarding at our Minnesota locations to kayaking, surfing, and paddle boarding as part of our California programs.
10. Academic and life skills support
Young people and parents sometimes worry that taking time off school or work will create problems when they return from treatment. However, the best residential programs help clients close the gaps they may be experiencing in their education or work life. At Newport, we help teens to build motivation and engagement with learning, and support young adults to gain life skills and plan for a future career that aligns with their talents and interests. When they go back to their home school, college, or workplace, our alumni are better equipped to succeed, both emotionally and practically—with new organizational tools, stronger executive functioning, and enhanced resilience.
Get Started Today
Are you seeking care for yourself, a client, or a family member? Newport Healthcare offers phone or in-person assessments at no charge for adolescents and young adults. Our Clinical Outreach team supports mental health and healthcare providers, employers, school professionals, and families around the country to find the right level of care and experience a seamless admissions process to one of our treatment programs—or another program we have personally vetted. We’ll help you find a location with immediate availability, because the best time to seek care is always sooner rather than later.
Learn more about our programs and contact us today to get started.