Santa Cruz, Calif.
To the Editor:
Re “Can You Punish a Child’s Mental Health Problems Away?,” by Alexander Stockton (Opinion, nytimes.com, Oct. 11):
I am the parent of a teen who struggled with trauma, mental health and addiction and is now on a fragile but hopeful path to recovery with the help of therapeutic programs that are the polar opposites of the bad actors profiled in this story.
My heart breaks for the children who suffered in these places, but it also breaks for the children and families who may be terrified by this story and not realize that there are evidence-based programs, certified by national organizations, that collect outcome data and that have transformed lives, including my family’s and those of hundreds that I know personally.
These programs — wilderness therapy, residential treatment and recovery for teens and young adults — are staffed by dedicated professionals and sometimes by clinical and support staff who were once clients and who know the life-changing power in these programs. My child asked to return to the wilderness because they knew that it was the safest, most therapeutic place to heal.
While the specific programs in this article are worth exposing, another scandal is the lack of resources, equity and information about the programs that do work. I believe that without the financial resources and access to information that I had, too many other children end up dead or in jail — failed, like us, by educational systems and conventional therapy.
We need to do more to make these resources available so all the teens who need lifesaving treatment can get it.
The writer’s name is being withheld to protect the privacy of her child.
To the Editor:
I don’t know why anyone is surprised by the abuse these young people experienced in these programs. It’s just yet another instance of the mistreatment of a vulnerable population by a profit-motivated institution.
Older people, people with disabilities and/or mental health issues — …….