Breaking Code Silence and Unsilenced have utilized online discussion boards such as Reddit to accuse and mischaracterize programs, individuals and the therapeutic field at large of maltreatment. This wide mischaracterization paints all programs as bad or abusive.
Sadly, many families are not accessing treatment as a result of these forums.
To rally public action, focus has been placed on accusations which draw the most attention. This is a form of sensationalized or clickbait content. These often shocking grievances are not indicative of regulated and relationship focused therapeutic programs.
As is common with stigmatic media, the community boards which harvest allegations do not allow open dialogue to address the issues nor share positive stories. Specifically, the community boards only allow negative remarks against youth treatment facilities.
Sensationalized headlines pull readers into an ‘information cocoon’ of one-sided information regarding youth treatment facilities. By fixating on the instances where individuals felt abandoned, we lose focus of the vast majority of youth whose experience helped them reconnect with their family and themselves.
Why does this matter?
When we experience stress, our decision making ability is significantly impaired. Not only is it harder to make decisions in crisis scenarios–we actually have less accurate perceptions of our processing.
Can you imagine the stress induced when your child is in a mental or behavioral health crisis, you have exhausted your community resources, and sensationalized media sources lead you to believe there are no safe therapeutic programs for your child?
Sound decisions need a wider perspective than the rabbit holes of anonymous community boards.
If the only easily accessible information is weighted with negative reviews or comments from individuals with no personal experience in youth treatment programs– how will families know that our therapeutic approach is safe, regulated, relational and successful?