Kara Long, a former client at the Insight teen treatment program, went on the Insight Treatment Hour to discuss her own struggles with mental illness and how the Insight teen peer support program helped with her own mental health issues.
According to the CEO of Insight Treatment Programs, Frederik Schulin, the Insight teen treatment program believes that it is important for teens to speak with other teens who are struggling with similar mental health issues to aid in the recovery process.
According to Schulin, by the time teens are in the Insight teen treatment program they have often been struggling with their own mental health for years prior and may have developed a sense that their situation will never change.
Long went on to describe her own experiences with mental health struggling with issues including depression, social anxiety, self-harm, and anorexia.
Long said that her struggles with mental illness started at a very young age and at first she “didn’t realize what [she] was doing.”
Long says that by the time she was in fifth grade she had started dieting which would eventually contribute to her struggles with anorexia.
According to Long, she was placed in a number of teen treatment programs before eventually being placed into the Insight intensive outpatient program for teens.
“By the time I was at Insight I was a lot more out of my shell except I still had crippling social anxiety,” Long said.
At this time, Insight was in the early stages of developing the teen peer support program and the staff at Insight invited Long to participate in the early stages of the program.
Long says that she recognized then the importance of this type of program and she agreed to speak to other high schoolers about her own mental health issues.
“I just thought how different my life would have been if I had heard someone share what they were going through,” Long said.
Long says that one particular student’s story convinced her that the teen peer support program was helpful. According to Long, after she spoke to a group of high schoolers one student came up to her afterward and asked if they could hug her. That student told Long that they had been struggling with their own mental health and that after hearing Long speak they sought treatment.
Since then Long has spoken to high schoolers on numerous occasions about her own struggles with mental health so that she might be able to help more teens.