Most of the time, trauma and mental illness are not in the scope of everyone’s daily lives. People often don’t understand the impacts of either of these on people’s lives, nor do they think it can happen in their family. But at some point, the painful reality is that everyone will either experience these directly or be touched by it indirectly.

It isn’t uncommon for youth coming through YouthZone’s programs to have experienced some form of trauma. In some cases, counselors work with youth who deal with both trauma and substance use. To cope with their pain, these clients may numb their symptoms by consuming alcohol and drugs. This was the case with Laura.

A few years ago, Laura came to YouthZone seeking guidance as a result of a minor possession charge.  Like all of YouthZone’s clients, Laura was administered a comprehensive assessment that revealed her struggle to cope with her symptoms of severe depression.  Thanks to the unbiased compassion from her YouthZone counselor, Laura shared her suicidal thoughts.  Feeling unable to talk about it with anyone else, YouthZone became one of the few places in Laura’s life where she felt safe enough to let her true voice be heard.

The counselor’s consistent work with Laura provided her a clearer vision of Laura’s past. This gave YouthZone the opportunity to develop a personalized strategy to help with Laura’s recovery. 

Unfortunately, Laura’s childhood was marked with abuse.  Because she lacked the proper support, her experience resurfaced later as major depressive disorder. When her depression became unmanageable, she turned to self-medicating to ease the pain.

With counseling and in some cases, medication, this disorder is fully treatable.  Despite Laura’s life-threatening mental state, YouthZone counseling enabled Laura to face her troubled past head on and she was able to develop a sense of resilience.

Through Laura’s self-care plan, she was able to recognize she also needed support from in-patient rehabilitation. She has since completed the treatment that served as a major stepping stone in her life.

Throughout her journey, Laura has acquired healthy coping strategies to manage the emotional scars from her past trauma.  Rather than turning to substances, she is now able to take the necessary preventative steps that ensure her depression doesn’t resurface. It hasn’t been easy, but Laura has learned that how we heal from our past is often more important than our past itself.

At YouthZone, we believe that removing the stigma behind mental health problems and addiction treatment is the right thing to do.  As a community, our only option for a loving future rests entirely on the future adults we’re raising.  That’s why we must foster an environment in which our kids feel safe asking for help. If our kids won’t tell us when something is wrong, who will?

Do you or does someone you know need help dealing with YouthZone services. Call 970-945-9300, and we will connect you to a YouthZone counselor in your community.