Five Questions to Ask When Looking for a Teen Treatment Center

August 26, 2020

As a parent, there are few decisions that may be harder than those that directly impact your children. The decision to place your child in a residential treatment facility, away from your home, can be overwhelmingly challenging.

At the end of 2017, there were nearly fourteen thousand teen treatment centers in the United States. The sheer number of options is indeed daunting when you are faced with attempting to research, review, and narrow down the list of facilities that specifically treat your teen’s individual mental health needs. There are so many vital questions that need answering. How long should (will) my child be in treatment? Is my child going to be safe? How is the family involved in the treatment program? What type of licensing and training does the staff have?

Before making any final decisions, take a look at some of the top questions you should consider asking teen treatment centers to ensure you have all of the information possible to determine which treatment center is best for your teen.

Do You Specialize in Adolescent Treatment?

For adults and teens alike, the most successful treatment has proven to be programs that are individually designed. The last thing any parent wants is for their teen to enter a treatment program that serves as a one-size-fits-all program that provides treatment for people of all ages and treatment needs. To ensure your teen receives the best treatment for their needs, it is crucial to ask questions of the facility regarding their licensing and accreditations. Most states require treatment facilities of all types to adhere to rigorous state licensing regulations in addition to federal licensing and accreditation standards. Within the facility, the staff is expected to attend training and maintain licenses and certifications.

When you decide on a potential facility, call and talk to someone in admissions. Ask about the credentials of the staff who will be working with your teen. It is essential to determine if the staff members are trained specifically around working with teens with mental health and addiction disorders. As previously mentioned, you want to make sure your chosen treatment center specializes in teen trauma and treatment because an adolescent’s brain is different than that of an adult or young child. During the teen years, their brain is still going through a significant amount of growth and development, and to adequately address their mental health needs, it is imperative for their treatment staff to understand these developmental nuances. For these reasons and more, you want a program like the Southern California Hillcrest Adolescent Treatment Center with a teen-specific approach to their treatment programs.

Does Your Treatment Facility/Treatment Model Address My Teens Specific Concern?

There are hundreds of different treatment models used in teen treatment facilities throughout the United States. It is essential to know what type of therapy your teen will receive and at what frequency. When searching for the appropriate treatment center for your teen, you want to ask which therapy models they use in treating mental health conditions. Also, some individuals react better to individual therapy as opposed to group therapy settings. It might be beneficial to ask whether the treatment facility provides group therapy and, if so, who facilitates it and what type of therapies are offered. You will also want to ask about individual therapy sessions. During these individual therapy sessions, what treatment models are used, and what are the goals?. As the various treatment models address different treatment concerns, you will want to ensure that the treatment modality offered at the treatment center of your choice will address your teen’s specific concerns.

On a related note, a significant body of research shows family is one of the most vital components of mental health recovery. Long term, sustainable recovery without a relapse of symptoms is significantly more achievable when family members understand the signs and symptoms associated with a specific mental illness. Also, when the family understands how to address the development of harmful coping mechanisms, or they themselves develop positive and helpful coping mechanisms for addressing potential negative behavior, it increases the chances for long-term success. Ask your possible treatment center if they offer family therapy, and if so, what types? Do the sessions take place at the treatment facility? Is the entire family involved, including your teen? Do they provide information about family support groups that may be available in your community after your teen has left treatment? These are all important questions to ask when determining how and to what extent the family is involved in the treatment process.

What is Your Client to Staff Ratio and How Long is Treatment?

One of the first questions you may have or that indeed your teen may have is how long treatment may last. Depending on the program and the type of treatment being provided, programs may range from a short length of stay to a couple of months or longer. Most research suggests that effective teen mental health treatments last for 90 days or more. Longer program durations allow for extensive personalized treatment that enables your teen to address any root causes of their mental health concerns. More extended duration programs also provide time to develop positive and beneficial coping mechanisms that they can use for triggering events after relieving treatment.

When your team goes to treatment, you want to be sure they’re getting personalized care to the greatest extent possible. This simply is not possible in a treatment center with a minimum staff ratio. It is unreasonable to expect a ten-person staff can treat fifty teens all at once. You want to ensure that the treatment center you choose has a small client to staff ratio which will ensure your teen gets individualized care and does not become a number among all of the others in the facility.

Will My Teen Be Safe During Treatment?

As a parent, your child’s safety is your top priority. Sending them to a residential treatment center like Hillcrest is not like sending them on the bus to school each day. When they leave to attend school, you typically see them in the morning and again in the evening when they return home. When your teen is at a residential treatment facility, you do not have the ability to be with them each day. This can be a source of concern for many parents. It is perfectly OK to ask the admissions team what type of measures they have in place to keep your child safe. You may also want to ask about discipline procedures if you are concerned that those could be a factor in your child’s treatment.

The conversation with admissions is also the time to ask about less expected or thought about potentials that could arise while your teen is in treatment. For example, what happens if they become medically ill? Are there nursing staff onsite, or will they transport your child to a local medical facility? These are all essential and vital questions for parents to ask. The answers to these questions can help put your mind at ease about your child’s safety while they are away from home, receiving the mental health treatment and support they need.

Do You Accept Insurance?

After the safety of your child, another top question regarding inpatient residential treatments at a facility like Hillcrest usually revolves around how to make much-needed treatment affordable. When talking to an admission specialist, be sure to ask what payment options are available to your family.

Insurance is one of the best ways to help cover the cost of treatments, so be sure to ask which providers they work with and find out what assistance they will offer to help you get through the insurance verification process. With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, mental health and addiction-based treatments are a mandatory element of insurance policies. However, this does not mean that they are required to cover 100% of treatment, nor does it mean that the treatment facility you choose will be included if they are not an in-network provider or part of your insurance companies’ approved provider list. Therefore, use the admissions staff’s knowledge and assistance to help determine what insurance benefits are available to you. A trustworthy treatment center will understand the stress and pain you are feeling and work as hard as possible to be wholly transparent and guide you through any financial questions you may have.

If insurance is not an option for your family, many treatment programs offer various payment arrangements and sliding scale financial options. These payment alternatives may help make self-pay for treatment possible, or at the very least, help bridge the gap between what insurance will cover and any copays that your family may have.

Couch - Teen Treatment Centers - Hillcrest

At Hillcrest, we can answer all of these questions and any others that you may have. At Hillcrest, your teen’s healing and recovery from mental health issues is our first priority. Our highly trained and experienced staff consists of therapy providers, nutritionists, and medical professionals. We will work with your teen and your family to design a treatment program centered solely on their treatment needs. As previously noted, there is no one size fits all when it comes to mental health treatment, and therefore cookie-cutter programs that treat the illness and not the individual do not result in treatment success. We know you have many questions, and as a parent, you are seeking reassurance that your teen and your family will be able to recover from the challenges that you’ve been facing. Our admission staff at Hillcrest is here to help you get the answers to these questions and provide guidance to help get your teen on the road to recovery. Give us a call at Hillcrest today to find out more about our treatment facility and the programs that we offer.