For teens who struggle with substance abuse or their mental health, residential treatment can have a lasting impact. Spending time away from the triggers that created their problems in a supportive environment can help teens learn the healthy coping skills they need. The length of time in treatment for each individual varies based on a number of factors, including the severity of their addiction or mental health issue, how open they are to treatment, and what insurance will approve.
At Ascend Healthcare, the average length of stay in our California treatment centers is about 45-60 days, but there are those that stay for up to 90 days. During this time, our team looks for certain signs of progress for mental health. More time in treatment always shows better results in the long term, and our team will work with your family to determine the right treatment plan for your needs.
While your teen is in treatment, talking to their treatment team about their therapy progress can help you determine if they’d benefit from a longer stay.
Signs of Progress for Mental Health
As your teen works through treatment, there are several signs of improvement you can look for, including:
- Improved Mood – Often, teens begin treatment when they are at a low point in their lives. One important sign of progress is whether they feel happier or less anxious from day to day.
- Using Healthy Coping Skills – A foundational part of therapy is helping participants find ways to manage symptoms and cope with stress. As teens navigate life in treatment, relying on these healthy coping skills is a sign of progress.
- Increased Participation – Teens who are making progress are likely to speak up more in group sessions, talk more openly with their therapist, and participate in activities. They’re more open to answering questions and asking them.
- Better Communication – Whether in family therapy sessions, individual, or group counseling, being able to open up about what’s bothering them can indicate that teens are on the road to recovery.
Every individual in treatment is different, and the signs of progress for mental health will vary. For a teen who struggles with anxiety, getting a good night’s sleep can be a sign that they’re improving. However, for a teen who is working to manage depression, sleeping less during the day can similarly show progress. Talking regularly with your teen’s treatment team can help you understand their unique road to recovery.
Therapy Progress Through Unique Therapeutic Modalities
There are a variety of therapies that can help teens heal. For example, many teens benefit from experiential therapies where they participate in different activities. They might learn more about their emotions through art therapy, find new ways to deal with stress through sports or exercise, or learn useful skills through gardening and writing.
Ascend also offers a comprehensive selection of evidence-based therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, and dialectical behavior therapy. With these various therapies, we can create a personalized treatment plan for each client that addresses their specific needs with goals and benchmarks that indicate signs of progress for mental health.
Can 45 Days Really Make a Difference?
At Ascend, we’ve seen real and lasting improvements after 45 days with us. Our team tracks signs of progress for mental health in five key areas, including internal resiliency, academic resilience, grit, self-efficacy, and depression so you can see concrete evidence of improvement. We also keep up with clients through our alumni and aftercare programs, getting a look at their progress even after they leave us. While mental health relapses do happen, every time a client works through the program at Ascend, we’re able to make incremental progress towards better mental health.