Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness Addresses Mental Health Challenges in Teens and Young Adults

CLAYTON, GA, June 10, 2022 /24-7PressRelease/ — Recent reports have highlighted a significant nation-wide increase in mental health challenges, particularly for adolescents and young adults. Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness, an immersive wilderness therapy program located in North Georgia, serves adolescents and young adults who are experiencing various degrees of mental health challenges. In many cases, students at Blue Ridge who are struggling with their mental health are also experiencing disruptions within their family system at home.

In January of this year, National Public Ratio reported on data from the Children’s Hospital Association that there were more than 47,000 mental health visits to emergency departments at 38 children’s hospitals around the country in the first three quarters of 2021 – nearly 40% higher than the same period in 2020. In all of these cases, there was family disruption.

Danielle Hava, Executive Director of Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness, explains, “As adolescents and young adults get older, there is a natural pull to separate from the family unit and establish a greater sense of self and purpose. In times of turmoil – such as during the Covid pandemic that stressed fundamental life processes for both parents and children – it is understandable that there will be anxiety, depression, defiance, withdrawal, substance abuse and more. At Blue Ridge, we employ a family systems approach to understanding and addressing the cause of individual problems and the impact of disruption within the family.”

“We want parents to know that we approach mental health for children and their parents holistically. Statistics show that improvements for students are longer lasting when parents are involved in the process and working in parallel with their children,” added Danielle. “Our Parent Pathway was developed specifically so that parents could work simultaneously from home while their children work with us in the wilderness on the complex dynamics of their family system.”

As the status of national adolescent mental health continues to evolve, Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness encourages parents to take notice if children are displaying changes in behaviors that may indicate a mental health problem, such as:

Feeling sad, hopeless, or irritable a lot of the time
Not wanting to do or enjoy doing fun things
Showing changes in eating patterns – eating a lot more or a lot less than usual
Showing changes in sleep patterns – sleeping a lot more or a lot less than normal
Showing changes in energy – being tired and sluggish or tense and restless a lot of the time
Having a hard time paying attention
Feeling worthless, useless, or guilty
Showing self-injury and self-destructive behavior
Being very afraid of school and other places where there are people (social anxiety)
Withdrawal from regular friend groups

“When we see behaviors that indicate issues like depression, anxiety or substance abuse, adolescents and young adults often benefit from a change in environment. The wilderness setting provides space from contributing factors and allows students to explore why they may be demonstrating those behaviors. Being in the wilderness provides parents and children an opportunity to slow down communication and have the space they both need during crises,” Ms. Hava explains.

With an integrated approach, BRTW combines assessment and wilderness-based therapeutic interventions to teach students and their families skills necessary to understand themselves, their families and how to connect in meaningful ways. For more information about Blue Ridge, visit or contact an admissions counselor today at 888-914-1040.

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