Get Your Teenager the Help They Need

Generation Z, also referred to as iGen, digital natives, and most commonly as Gen Z comprises individuals born between 1995 and 2012 and now accounts for approximately a quarter of the US population.

Members of Gen Z have experienced significant disruption in a short time with changes in the political, social, technological, and economic landscape. “The rapid growth in technology is a foundational catalyst for the change in values and behavior among Gen Z, compared to those of the previous generations,” wrote Pichler, Kohli, and Granitz in their 2021 Gen Z study. “The constant engagement with smartphones, video games, and social media has led to technology addiction, lack of sleep, attention deficit issues, and depression among Gen Zers. From 1985 to 2019, incoming self-reported emotional health among college students continued to decline.”

In 2017, author and psychology professor Jean Twenge identified iGen’ers as being “at the forefront of the worst mental health crisis in decades, with rates of teen depression and suicide skyrocketing since 2011.”

In his book Digital Madness, Nicholas Kardaras largely blamed the impact of smartphones and social media on the mental health crisis among young people. “Research shows that the empty, sedentary, addicting, isolating, and self-loathing lifestyle created by Big Tech drives depression and hopelessness,” he wrote. “Yet the more depressed and empty we feel, the more we’re driven to escape those feelings with more of the digital drug that’s driving the problem to begin with—a classic addiction catch-22.”


A new study indicates that about half of the kids feel that their parents don’t take their mental health concerns seriously. At the same time, about 53 percent don’t want their parents to know they are meeting with a school counselor or therapist.

The study, which was carried out by Springtide Research Institute, surveyed 3,139 students in middle school, high school, and college in spring 2022 and discovered that 49 percent of respondents agreed with the statement “My parents/guardians don’t take my mental health concerns seriously.”

“Parents want the best for their children, but sometimes this can get lost in translation,” wrote Ellie Hutchings recently on GoodtoKnow. Whatever the cause of the alarming decline in mental health may be exactly, “parents of teenagers and young adults will hope that their children can come to them with their problems, and look to the adults in their life for tips on how to manage stress and other negative emotions.”

This is not necessarily happening, though, as the study found that more than half of respondents agreed with the statement “I wouldn’t want my parents/guardians to know I am meeting with a school counselor or therapist.”

“Why is it that so many young people feel this way?” asked Hutchings in the GoodtoKnow article. “One explanation could be that teens and young adults don’t want to worry their parents. A third of students surveyed agreed that ‘My parents/guardians wouldn’t want me to get help at school because they would be worried I might be treated differently or be given fewer opportunities.’”

These kinds of barriers to getting help are not helpful, of course. Parents, counselors, therapists, and anxious teenagers should all be on the same page and work on appropriate solutions. Sending their child to a residential treatment program like Turning Winds is not an easy decision for parents to make—but it may be a necessary course of action and to make an informed decision they need to have a clear picture of the situation.

“It’s not a call any family wants to make,” says Turning Winds admissions director Eric Loesch. “In most cases, they have explored what seemed less drastic steps or lower levels of care, such as outpatient therapy or maybe even an intensive outpatient program. If they end up calling us that usually means those attempts were unsuccessful.”

Often, parents have the right instinct but are reluctant to act on it. “When they thought, it’s getting pretty bad, maybe we should consider treatment—that’s the time to pursue treatment, as opposed to waiting for some perfect scenario to happen,” recommends Loesch. “That perfect moment is just not going to materialize.” Many parents who end up sending their child to treatment usually ask themselves later “Why did we wait so long to do this?”


In his book Not By Chance, teen therapy expert Tim Thayne emphasizes the importance of allowing enough time for change to occur. “There is another element to why good programs work and that is simply time,” Thayne wrote. “To create deep internal change, teens need to be immersed in a carefully crafted milieu, with positive values and solid principles, long enough for these changes to sink in.”

Turning Winds offers a long-term residential program for teens by filling in the gaps left by other treatment options. Our teenage clients frequently stay with us for an entire year, allowing them to form relationships with people that would not have been possible for them otherwise. “Usually, it takes about five months before kids really decide that they’re going to make use of the program,” says John Gordon, MD, Turning Winds’ medical director.

Our one-of-a-kind hybrid program blends the successful aspects of residential treatment centers, therapeutic boarding schools, and wilderness therapy into one life-changing experience. Over the past two decades, Turning Winds has been able to help many families overcome what seemed impossible odds. Our mission is to rescue teens from crisis situations, renew their belief in their potential, reunite them with their families, and put them on a sustainable path to success.

Contact us online for more information, or call us at 800-845-1380. If your call isn’t answered personally, one of us will get back to you as soon as possible.


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John Baisden, Jr

John Baisden, Jr

John Baisden Jr is the father of seven inspiring children, and he is married to Kara, the love of his life. Together they have created a family-centered legacy by leading the way with early childhood educational advancement. John loves to write and is an author of a children’s book, An Unlikely Journey and plans to publish additional books. Show More

John is a visionary in his work and applies “outside-the-box” approaches to business practice and people development. He is the Founder of Turning Winds, along with several other organizations. He has extensive experience launching and developing organizations. His skills include strategic planning, promoting meaningful leader-member movement, organizational change, effective communication, project management, financial oversight and analysis, digital marketing and content creation, and implementing innovative ideas through influential leadership. As a leader, John seeks to empower others and brand success through collaborative work. His vision is to lead with courage, grit, truth, justice, humility, and integrity while emphasizing relational influence rather than focusing on the sheens of titles, positions, or things.

Finally, John is passionate about life and promoting equity among those who are often overlooked because of differences that frequently clash with the “norm.” He lives in Southern Idaho and loves the outdoors and the life lessons that can be learned in such an informal environment.

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