While we understand that a teen struggling with mental health and/or substance abuse issues can feel scary and overwhelming, it’s so important to remember that an illness does not define a teen. Furthermore, we always remind families that these illnesses and current struggles will not determine the rest of teens’ lives. In fact, there is ample evidence that suggests many gifted teens also struggle with emotional and behavioral health challenges, which is why we have designed our Gifted Teen Treatment Program, here at Paradigm San Francisco, to address the specific needs of gifted teens who are facing mental health and/or substance abuse issues.
At Paradigm San Francisco, we’re committed to designing highly individualized gifted teen treatment plans, which are based on teens’ interests and strengths, as well as their symptoms. In cases where gifted teens are struggling with a mental illness, it’s common for them to fall behind in studies and responsibilities, despite their abilities to excel. In these cases, we work to help teens leverage their challenges with their gifts, while navigating the ups and downs of their treatment and illness. This might include a number of different things such as resources to reduce stress, medication to alleviate symptoms, behavioral strategies to help teens maintain academic habits and success, and important introspective work to support teens to use their brightness to their advantage in furthering the work they’re doing here in treatment.
Within our Academic Support program, we also work with teens that are in AP and/or other Honors program classes, to help them with their particular academic needs and demands. In our classroom and individualized tutoring sessions, we offer support to help ensure that teens have the time and resources they need to either catch up or continue to excel in these courses, as well as to meet any necessary requirements, while at Paradigm. The goal of this designated gifted teen support is to help meet gifted teens needs as precisely and completely as possible, so they are able to heal and recover in all areas of their lives, including being able to continue with academic excellence, moving forward.