Youth who have experienced traumatic events in their childhood can have long-term battles with mental health issues like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The symptoms of PTSD can make life difficult for teens and interfere with their ability to complete schoolwork in a traditional classroom setting.
According to the National Library of Medicine, “students who have experienced a traumatic event are at increased risk for academic, social, and emotional problems due to these experiences.” With the support of teachers and therapists who are trained in trauma-informed practices, students can overcome the symptoms of PTSD to live a healthy life.
If your teenage son struggles in school due to his traumatic past, he could benefit from attending a trauma-informed school. You can start by researching PTSD schools or reach out directly for more information about therapeutic schools for troubled teens.
Symptoms of PTSD
The symptoms of PTSD in youth can vary based on the severity of the trauma and how well the child coped with the trauma. Traumatic events during childhood can also lead to anxiety, depression, and substance abuse problems. So, teens with PTSD can also show signs of various mental health problems relating to their trauma.
Some common symptoms of PTSD in teens include:
Having difficulty concentrating
Having nightmares or flashbacks
Having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
Finding it hard to make decisions
Feeling fidgety or restless all the time
Feeling emotionally numb
Being aggressive or easily irritated
Avoiding activities, locations, or people who remind them of their trauma
Having panic attacks
Thinking about self-harm or suicide
Harming themself or attempting suicide
Most traditional schools are not designed to support students with PTSD. Many students get left behind or fall through the cracks with large class sizes and a low teacher-to-student ratio. Rather than progressing in their studies and learning new social and emotional skills, teens are stuck dealing with their past trauma without the guidance to move past it.
What are trauma-informed schools?
Trauma-informed schools and PTSD schools are designed to support students with a traumatic past. Students still receive academic lessons and progress in their classwork, but they do so in an environment conducive to learning. Teachers and staff are trained to identify the symptoms of PTSD in students and to use teaching methods that work around those symptoms.
Rather than forcing restless students to sit in a classroom for hours, they engage in experiential learning. Teachers can use mindfulness exercises to help students regain their focus and stay in the present. School staff can work with the students and their parents to provide the support to help students grow as a person rather than being stuck in their trauma.
Most PTSD schools have therapists on staff who can talk to students throughout the day if needed. If something in school triggers a flashback or causes the student to panic, students receive immediate therapeutic intervention to help them return to a balanced state of mind. As students learn to manage their symptoms, they become more capable of handling life independently.
Long term mental health facilities for youth
Some teens with PTSD see progress in managing their symptoms by attending school in a long-term mental health facility like a therapeutic boarding school. Therapeutic boarding schools use a trauma-informed approach to both treatment and education. Students receive individual, group, and family therapy sessions to address their trauma and help them overcome it.
Students also participate in life skills training and extracurricular activities that appeal to them. Through hands-on training and new experiences, students learn without the demands of a traditional classroom environment. For many teens struggling with PTSD, anxiety, or depression, the combination of therapy and active learning can be life-changing.
For more information about our school for troubled boys, call us at 866-639-2856.