Presenting the parents with different treatment options can be a huge help. Many people are simply not aware of the choices available to them. Weekly therapy can be a good place to start, but more frequent intervention is probably necessary, at least at first. If you are able to connect with a therapist, ask them for recommendations for different programs.
Inpatient programs can help stabilize someone. This might include a short hospitalization, usually a week to 10 days, or a short-term residential care facility. These programs typically last between six weeks and three months. After inpatient care, you need to have a step-down plan. Intensive outpatient programs (sometimes called partial hospitalization programs) are a good bridge between inpatient treatment and weekly therapy.
In fact, intensive outpatient treatment can be very beneficial for both substance abuse and mental illness. The teen would spend the bulk of the day in the program, going to group and individual therapy and learning new coping skills. These programs have a strong family component and often ask parents to come in for training at least once a week. Grandparents can attend, too, to support both parents and grandkids.
Program websites often have virtual tours, which you can watch with the parents. In ordinary times, you can visit the facility and meet with staff. During the pandemic, many facilities have switched to virtual interviews. This can work in your favor since you can easily join a Zoom meeting, even if you don’t live close. A parent will often feel the need for another set of eyes and ears to figure out the best program for the teen.
You want to look for a program that focuses particularly on your teen’s issues. There are programs that focus on different mental health issues, on substance abuse, and on the combination of the two. The programs are usually very prompt at answering messages, too. You can come up with a list of questions to ask each program to help you decide which is the right one for your teen.
Helping a grandkid with mental illness or substance abuse isn’t easy. However, with enough love and determination, you can line up the right kind of care and give your teen the opportunity to turn their life around.