Substance use disorder and mental health issues have become a major societal problem across the United States, especially for teens. Wilderness therapy, also known as outdoor behavioral healthcare, is a rapidly growing, innovative clinical behavioral healthcare intervention for adolescents and young adults struggling with emotional, behavioral, relational, and substance use disorders. Wilderness therapy, an “off the couch” effective form of treatment, is the prescriptive use of wilderness experiences by licensed mental health professionals to meet the therapeutic needs of clients. By immersing youth in the wilderness for 8-12+ weeks, wilderness therapy combines the powerful effects of nature with licensed mental health professionals. Therapists not only deliver the same therapeutic elements often implemented in traditional office therapies, but also supplement these with the prescriptive use of wilderness experiences (hiking, backcountry travel, rock climbing) to meet the therapeutic treatment needs of clients. Programs also include group-living and group therapy as well as one-on-one counseling sessions.
Our Pathway to Hope that Heals
Wilderness therapy is very expensive, rarely covered by health insurance companies, and is cost-prohibitive to many families. Believing that cost should not be a barrier to anyone seeking wilderness therapy treatment for their child, Sky’s the Limit Fund (STLF) provides financial assistance to offset the high cost and enable youth and young adults in crisis to attend one of our wilderness therapy program Partners. Our Partners also provide a reduction in tuition, further reducing the financial burden for the family.
To further support our families and young adults, and reduce the financial burden post wilderness therapy treatment, STLF provides families and young adults participating in the STLF coaching service the opportunity to be reimbursed for a portion of the cost of treatment for the youth or young adult in his/her home community following wilderness therapy. Examples of treatment include, but are not limited to, therapist, counselor, mentor, IOP, and wrap services.
In addition to financial assistance for wilderness therapy and community based aftercare, our families and young adults receive 12-15 weeks of comprehensive coaching to help with the transition from wilderness therapy back into the home, or to an independent living environment for the young adults. Our approach helps guide the families towards a healthier, functioning family system by supporting and expanding on the new skills they acquired during wilderness therapy. This service is also offered to non-STLF clinically approved families for a nominal fee.
People are comforted when they realize they have a community to support them through their challenges in life, when they understand their options and can make a choice that best meets their needs. STLF believes there should be no stigmas when it comes to mental health. We believe in supporting individuals and families through their journey to a better tomorrow. STLF provides guidance, parent mentors and resources to give families the emotional and practical support and strength to successfully navigate the treatment process. Through community outreach and education, we hope to increase the awareness of wilderness therapy as an option for young people in crisis.