Learn from article
The recent article in The Times Argus regarding an incident involving staff injuries at the Brattleboro Retreat provides a real-time opportunity to add to the public’s understanding of the challenges facing our youth and the great work done by those adults who have committed their lives to treating those in need.
Many of the adolescents who come to the Retreat, and many other programs in Vermont, do so with a history of trauma and abuse, the result of which can sometimes lead them to “act out” their emotions. Treatment involves helping them to recognize feelings before they become overwhelming, and teaching them to verbalize concerns and problem-solve issues.
Fortunately, we know that treatment works, and in those rare instances when it does not, this too becomes a treatment moment. Conversations are held with staff and the adolescent to review what took place, look at reasons why and define alternatives to striking out.
These realities underlie the incident that was recently described in the press, and understanding them in this context will help to dispel some of the stigma associated with mental illness in adolescents.
Senior vice president of government relations
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