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Effective and Accessible Teen Mental Health Treatment Critical to Addressing Utah’s Needs

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Teens in Utah, and throughout the Mountain West of the United States, are struggling more than ever before, and accessing safe and effective behavioral healthcare in the state has become increasingly difficult. Utah has one of the highest rates of youth depression in the nation, but fewer than 10 percent of young people there are receiving any type of mental health treatment.

As a result, families are unsure how to access compassionate, evidence-based residential treatment centers in Utah, and concerned about how to get teens the best care available. Families often choose the Mountain West, which includes the states of Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and Nevada, as an ideal location to find treatment for their teen, given its serene and picturesque location surrounded by nature.

An Approach That Puts Family at the Center

Newport Academy’s residential teen treatment in Utah integrates family into the healing process every step of the way. Parents participate in family therapy, multi-family support groups, and regular family events, and are continually updated on their child’s progress. All our clinical staff are trained in Attachment-Based Family Therapy, a model designed specifically to repair ruptures in the parent-child relationship so teens can feel safe turning to their parents for support.

What Should I Look for When Researching Residential Treatment Centers in Utah ?

Evidence-Based, Outcomes-Driven Care

One of the most important signifiers of quality care is if a program tracks and publicizes its treatment outcomes. Moreover, the most trustworthy treatment programs work with a respected research institute to collect and analyze data. This ongoing assessment process creates transparency and reassurance for insurance providers, parents, and referring professionals. In addition, the safest and most effective treatment centers utilize evidence-based care. This means that the clinical, experiential, and academic modalities included in each teen’s treatment plan are proven to create sustainable solutions for young people and their families.

A Team of Licensed and Credentialed Experts

Newport Academy Utah’s staff have the appropriate training, licensing, and credentials to provide the highest-quality care for teens with trauma, depression, anxiety and co-occurring disorders. Parents and care providers should look for programs that employ experienced and highly trained staff, including psychiatrists and therapists with clinical degrees and national and state certifications and licensing. Furthermore, a program’s accreditations and affiliations with respected organizations and licensing bodies are at testament to the quality, safety, and efficacy of the care it provides.

A Safe and Supported Approach to Nature TherapyEvidence-Based Care?

Bootcamp-style programs that push teens beyond their limits have been shown to be not only ineffective but also traumatizing for young people who are already suffering. However, properly licensed and staffed outdoor therapeutic programs, delivered as part of an integrative approach that also includes clinical and academic modalities, can be extremely beneficial for adolescents. At Newport Academy Utah, our tailored treatment for teens encompasses outdoor experiential modalities like Adventure Therapy, Horticulture Therapy, and Equine-Assisted Therapy with trained and experienced therapists, and take advantage of the state’s natural beauty, while keeping teens safe and supported.

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“Utah must more than double its mental health workforce over the next 15 years to keep up with population growth and move its mental health provider ratios closer to the national average.”

–Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute and the Utah Hospital Association, July 2020

The Latest Statistics on Teen Mental Health in Utah

While Newport Academy Utah serves families from across the nation, the mental health statistics for Utah’s youth are especially alarming. According to Mental Health America’s 2021 rankings, 17 percent of Utah youth experienced major depression in the last year—close to one out of every five teens. Utah ranked at number 48 among the 50 states and Washington DC, with only three states showing higher levels of youth depression. Furthermore, CDC statistics show that, for the last decade, the suicide rate in Utah has been consistently higher than the national average. Data from the Utah Bureau of Health Promotion reveals devastating numbers regarding teen suicidal ideation: 28.5 percent of teen girls in the state and 15 percent of teen boys have seriously considered attempting suicide.

At the same time, fewer teens and families are able to access quality care. New research from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that less than 10 percent of young people in Utah (ages 3–17) received mental healthcare in the past year. Among youth (ages 12–17) with depression, a full 60 percent had no access to treatment. A report by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute and the Utah Hospital Association shows that the ratio of child and adolescent psychiatrists to young people in Utah is particularly low, with only six psychiatrists per 100,000 youth. Only two states in the nation have a worse ratio.


of Utahns experienced childhood trauma


of youth nationwide suffer from major depression

The highest suicide rates

in the mainland US are in the Rocky Mountain Region

Early treatment is key.

Adolescents are more likely to achieve sustainable healing when they receive quality care soon after mental health symptoms appear.


of depressed youth in Utah don’t receive treatment

Every 2.48 days

a young person (ages 10–24) in Utah dies by suicide

Families Find Sustainable Clinical and Academic Solutions at Newport Academy’s Residential Treatment Centers in Utah

Newport Academy Utah, which predominantly serves the Mountain States of Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and Nevada, offers a different approach to residential treatment centers in Utah. The licensed and credentialed staff at our new location in the Beehive State guide teens and families to sustainable solutions and long-term recovery. Built on a foundation of excellence, clinical expertise, and compassionate care, Newport Academy has been serving young people and their loved ones for more than 12 years, and in that time has become one of the top-rated treatment centers in the country.

Moreover, strengths-based education is an essential aspect of our clinical model. Newport Academy’s focus on academics, integrated within the treatment environment, goes beyond the traditional therapeutic boarding school to truly transform the learning experience. Our outcomes show that when young people’s well-being improves, their executive function, motivation, and academic performance improve as well. Hence, teens return to their home school with not only self-knowledge and an enhanced ability to form authentic connections with self and others, but also concrete skills and a sense of purpose and meaning.

Furthermore, we pride ourselves on hiring staff who are passionate about transforming young people’s lives through an integrated approach that combines a variety of evidence-based modalities. Unconditional love is one of Newport Academy’s core values. We understand that, first and foremost, teens need compassion, acceptance, and caring connection in order to heal from mental health challenges. In addition, our comfortable, home-like environments provide nurturing and secure spaces in which teens can heal from mental health and co-occurring disorders.

“For this generation of teenagers who spend so much time in front of screens, outdoor experiences can help them get more grounded in the moment, and give them a deep sense of connection to nature and to themselves.”

Kristin Wilson, Newport’s Vice President of Clinical Outreach

Contact Us To Learn More

We consider it an honor and a privilege to help young people who are struggling find their way back to thriving, and we are dedicated to ensuring that the families who entrust their children to us receive the highest-quality and most compassionate care available. Contact us today to find out more about Newport Academy’s residential treatment centers in Utah and across the nation.