Boarding School Depression: Steps to Avoid It

A boarding school or a residential treatment program can be very effective in changing behaviors, but can sometimes initiate boarding school depression, becoming detrimentally harmful to already overwhelmed attendants. In fact, a recent study has proven the effectiveness of such programs known for improving many emotional disorders, even depression. However, given the nature of the emotional disorders that you are trying to improve, a stay at the wrong boarding school can lead to greater depression, actually worsening the very condition you hope to resolve.

For this reason, experts recommend you do the best you can to match your child to the best boarding school program for him, be it for depression, bipolar disorder or substance abuse. Parents, with no fault of their own, may not always make the right decision due to the emotional stresses that have brought the family to the point of requiring enrollment in a depression boarding school. William H. Evans, himself a mental health professional and father of a child who required residential treatment, has come up with these 10 questions to help parents find the right boarding school, based on his personal and professional experience.

  1. Does the program have a clear corporate history and organization?
  2. Does the program have the components that you and a trusted mental health professional believe should be present?
  3. What is the history of the facility? How have problems been handled in the past? Parents should be cautious if told there have not been any problems.
  4. Does the facility have data to support claims of success?
  5. Have children left the program due to boarding school depression issues? And if so why?
  6. What type of aftercare is provided after youth leave the program?
  7. Do you get direct, coherent, and easily understood answers to your questions?
  8. What do parents and youth who have participated in the program have to say?
  9. How are emergencies handled? How are staff members trained to handle emergencies? Is there medical treatment available?
  10. Are rules posted in the facility? Are there a variety of activities? Is the facility clean, structured, and in good repair?

All child and teen behavior specialists also recommended that before you make any decision, you go to the boarding school and ask questions of the staff, the teachers, parents, and especially the children who reside there. This could be your greatest tool in preventing harmful boarding school depression which has been commonly known for severely damaging the patient, sometimes permanently.

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