When a child or adolescent is suffering from a depressive disorder, it can have a devastatingly negative impact on his or her ability to function on a daily basis. Childhood and adolescence can be a trying time as children are learning who they are, testing their limits, and figuring out their place in the world. So when children have the additional struggle of facing depression, it can cause difficulty in their ability to successfully transition from one developmental stage to the next. These children may feel like they have lost control of their emotions. They may have difficulty performing well in school, or find themselves socially isolated, or may even begin participating in self-harming behaviors. Your child does not have to continue on this sad, isolated downhill slide. There is help available.
At Millcreek Behavioral Health, we recognize how difficult it can be for parents to watch their child suffer from the symptoms of depression and we offer specialized programming designed specifically to help meet the sensitive needs of these children and adolescents. We have many years of experience working with children who are suffering from a number of mental and behavioral health concerns, including depressive disorders. Built on 37 acres of beautiful, natural landscape in Fordyce, our residential treatment centers are able to provide all of our patients with the comfortable, serene atmosphere that they would not receive in a traditional, locked hospital setting. At Millcreek, we can provide your child with the therapeutic interventions that he or she needs in order to overcome his or her challenges and go on to live a happy, healthy life.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
Having a child who is suffering from a depressive disorder can be heart-wrenching for you as a parent. You may feel helpless as to what you can do to help your child as you watch him or her suffer from emotions that he or she seems to be incapable of controlling. You might also be wondering whether or not your child is truly suffering from depression, or if he or she is simply experiencing the type of moodiness that comes with adolescence. Here are some warning signs that may be evidence that your child is truly suffering from a depressive disorder and needs treatment:
- Isolating him or herself from family and friends
- No longer wanting to participate in things that he or she used to enjoy
- Decline in academic performance
- Changes in sleeping and eating patterns
- Noticeable changes in his or her appearance (e.g. no longer caring how he or she looks or lacking appropriate hygiene)
- Complaints of unexplained bodily aches and pains
- Sudden, angry outbursts
- Being overly critical of him or herself
- Self-harming behaviors
- Suicidal ideation
If these are things that ring true for your child, it is important to take the signs seriously and seek out professional mental health treatment.
Why Consider Treatment at Millcreek Behavioral Health
If a child or adolescent is suffering from depression and does not receive treatment, the long-term effects can have a negative impact on his or her future. The symptoms that are present now will likely continue to worsen without an appropriate intervention, leading to further disruption in your child’s ability to function on a daily basis. He or she may become more isolated and withdrawn, resulting in a lack of healthy interpersonal relationships. This isolation can lead to further feelings of sadness, which have the potential of leading to an increase in possible self-harming behaviors or suicidal ideation. This does not have to be your child’s future. By engaging in treatment, he or she can go on to lead a full and happy life.
Residential treatment centers have proven to be successful in helping children and adolescents overcome the struggles that they face as a result of depression. When children begin treatment in a residential program, they are being provided with the opportunity to temporarily step away from the stresses of their everyday lives and focus solely on addressing the symptoms that are causing them distress. By participating in a residential treatment program, children and adolescents will also be surrounded by other children who are facing similar challenges to the ones that they are, which often results in the development of a sense of confidence and aids in the healing process as these children come to realize that they are not alone. The intensity of the support and the thoroughness of the treatment that children receive in a residential program can have a dramatically positive influence on each child, as well as on his or her future.
Program Philosophy and Benefits
At Millcreek Behavioral Health, we are dedicated to helping children and adolescents confront their challenges and learn to make better choices in all aspects of their lives, changes that will continue to positively affect them as they grow. We strive to meet all of our clients where they are at, tailoring treatment plans to meet each unique set of needs. We approach treatment utilizing an integrated, multicomponent program model that is based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which has proven to be effective in treating a wide variety of populations and a wide variety of diagnoses. CBT is an evidence-based model that works by targeting thinking errors, correcting maladaptive thoughts, and replacing them with new coping skills and problem-solving techniques. The members of our highly trained and qualified treatment team work with every child to facilitate change and to help him or her learn to take responsibility for the changes that need to be made.
Types of Treatment Offered at Millcreek Behavioral Health
When children and adolescents come to us for treatment, they will first undergo a thorough diagnostic assessment and a psychiatric evaluation. These tests allow us to gain a full understanding of any presenting concerns and identify specific treatment needs. The findings of these assessments will be used by an interdisciplinary treatment team to develop a master treatment plan that will then be reviewed by our center’s psychiatrist. This master treatment plan will specify the objectives and treatment goals that are unique to each client, including specific intervention components that will aid in meeting the child’s needs.
The program model at Millcreek is divided into four distinct phases, which include:
- Why am I here?
- Making the connection
- Learning new skills
All residents are required to complete all aspects of each phase in order to advance to the next. Some of the treatment methods that will be used and some of the activities that residents will participate in as they advance through programming may include the following:
Medication: One part of successfully treating depressive disorders commonly comes in the form of antidepressant medications. Children who are placed on medication will be constantly monitored by their treatment teams in order to ensure the therapeutic effectiveness of the medications, as well as to make any changes that may be necessary.
Group therapy: Group therapy is held multiple times throughout the week, with sessions that cover a wide range of topics. The groups that the children participate in will be determined based on their individualized treatment plans, but some of the topics that are covered in these group sessions may include coping skills, social skills, self-soothing, and behavior management.
Recreational therapy: All of the children and adolescents in our programs will participate in recreational therapy, which includes participating in activities such as art therapy, gym, sports, social outings, adventure programs, and leisure. These activities are designed to aid in the development of appropriate social skills.
Education: Every child and adolescent that we treat at Millcreek attends our fully accredited school program, which is held Monday through Friday. Each child will be given a distinct, individualized education plan based on his or her specific academic needs.
Depending on the treatment track in which your child is enrolled, in addition to the presence of any specific treatment needs, he or she may also participate in some, or all, of the following:
- Occupational therapy
- Speech therapy
- Individual therapy
- Family therapy
- Student council
Continued Care and Levels of Treatment
A case manager will be available to meet with the patients on a regular basis throughout treatment and will be in frequent contact with guardians. They will help identify what the next best plan of action should be and what services might be helpful upon discharge. Our case managers can help schedule any necessary follow-up appointments with outpatient providers and can assist you and your child in finding and contacting resources that are available for support within your community. For those patients who qualify, there is also the option of entering into a waiver program where individuals can return home and still receive any additional assistance with daily living skills that may be needed.