When Will I know When It is the Right Time to Send My Teenage Daughter to Treatment?

Making the decision to send your daughter to treatment for her mental health concerns is never easy. The nature of mental illness is that it will seemingly get better for a while, only to turn sour again, seemingly with no warning. So how can you know when it’s time to make this decision? Here is a closer look at common warning signs and what you can expect from residential treatment.

Warning Signs Your Daughter Needs Inpatient Treatment 

Many young women struggle with mental health. Body image concerns, depression and anxiety are all common ailments for teenage girls. So how can you know that mental health issues have moved past normal teenage problems into a need for residential treatment?

1.    Dual Diagnosis

First, consider whether your daughter has more than one mental health diagnosis. Is she dealing with depression and an eating disorder? Has she struggled with anxiety and is now dealing with a major depression episode?

Dual diagnosis is a common problem for teens, as mental health conditions often gets worse without treatment. If there is more than one diagnosis and her mental state is not improving, then it’s time to look at inpatient care.

2.    Self-Harm

If your daughter has mentioned self-harm or has suicidal thinking, then you need to act quickly. Unfortunately, there may not be warning signs that she is moving beyond just talking about these issues, and you don’t want to wait until something drastic happens.

At the first sign of suicidal ideation or self-harm, you need to start looking for professional mental health treatment.

3.    Substance Abuse

One of the common dual-diagnosis problems that teenagers face is substance use disorder or substance abuse. If your child is turning to alcohol, vaping, or other drugs to address their negative emotions, then it is a clear sign that they need professional help for their mental health issues.

Inpatient care is often best because it takes away the likelihood that the child will have access to drugs.

“As a mother, my experience with the staff was very good.  There was a constant open line of communication throughout my daughter's attendance.  Anytime I had a question or worry I was able to call or email and hear back within hours, if not immediately.” ~Sarah Hinkson

Source: Google Reviews

1.    Ineffective Treatment Plans

One of the hardest things for a parent in this position is to realize that the treatment plan they are using at home is not working. Often, outpatient therapy and behavioral health treatment appear to work for a while, only to have the child jump back into their mental health issues.

This is known as habitual relapse.

Doing treatment at home first, except when teens are dealing with self-harm concerns, is the best option. Still, sometimes a child needs therapy beyond treatment for behavioral issues and outpatient treatment.

If you find that your teen keeps slipping back into depression or anxiety in spite of your best efforts, then she needs a higher level of care, and it is time to act.

2.    Abuse and Trauma

If there is a history of abuse or trauma in the child’s past, then a residential treatment facility is often better equipped to give the child the intensive treatment she needs to get better.

Trauma changes the structure and chemical makeup of the brain, and you need to make sure you give your child room to heal. Working with a trauma-informed treatment center that can keep your daughter on a residential basis, with round-the-clock supervision, will give her the best chance of moving past this trauma and into healthy thinking.

3.    Inadequate Support

Supporting a teenager dealing with mental health issues or substance abuse is exhausting. You need to be in a good mental place to support your daughter as she needs. If you don’t have enough support and help at home for yourself, you can’t give your daughter the support required to get through this crisis.

Getting professional mental health help gives you both the best chance to heal.

4.    Safety Concerns

Some mental health needs can escalate to the point that you and your other family members are not safe. If your daughter has become violent, or you suspect she might, you need to seek professional help immediately.

Seeking help for your daughter when she shows signs of harming herself or others does not mean you are giving up on your child. It means you are giving her the best chance to overcome this very real mental health crisis and move forward in health.

How to Choose a Treatment Center

When you are ready to choose a residential treatment program for your child, the center you choose is a major part of this process. Make sure you have found the right one, and use these strategies to help.

1.    Talk to Other Parents

Ask for the name of other parents who have used a residential treatment center, and talk to them. What was their experience like? Did the child find success?

2.    Tour the Facility

Take a tour of the facilities you’re considering.

  • Do they offer the level of treatment your teenage daughter needs?
  • Do the children seem engaged and supported?
  • Is the facility clean and is the environment conducive to healing?
  • Is there clinical care available 24/7?
  • Does family play an integral role in the treatment?
  • Does it feel like a safe place for a struggling teen?
  • What supplemental services are available: activities, academics, therapies?

3.    Types of Treatment

Ask about the types of treatment offered. There are many mental health treatment options available for children who are struggling, so choose a treatment center that has a good reputation, stability, and a caring and trained staff. Remember, what works best for one child may not be what works best for the next, so look for comprehensive treatment that supports and natures the whole child and has a proven clinical approach.

4.    Warning Signs

Some mental health residential treatment facilities are not good. You want this to be a positive, healing experience for you and your daughter, so watch out for these warning signs:
  • Lack of license and credentials – The facility should be licensed and all staff should have proper licensing or credentials.
  • Consumer complaints – If there are many legitimate complaints against a facility, walk away.

 Giving up parental rights – You should have reasonable access to your daughter when you want it, so walk away from a program that severely limits your ability to communicate or visit.

When is the Right Time to Send Your Teenage Daughter to Treatment?

When is residential treatment necessary!

You have given your daughter all you have to help her with her mental health issues. If she’s not getting consistently better, then it is time to make the move to residential treatment. Remember, mental health problems rarely get better on their own, and they usually get worse.

If she resists going, help her realize that you can see her concern but that the treatment is what she needs to get well and reach her goals for the future. By making this move now, you can give your daughter her best chance at healing. It is the most loving and supportive move you can make.

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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