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Summer Illusion: Why It's Time for Mental Health Care

As summer approaches, a collective sigh of relief often sweeps through families, heralding a break from the academic year’s challenges. For parents of children and adolescents who have navigated mental health problems like anxiety and depression during the school year, this period typically brings an improvement in mood and behavior. The decrease in school pressures might seem to resolve these issues, tempting some to delay seeking further mental health care. However, this decision might overlook a critical opportunity for deeper healing and preparation for future challenges.

The Deceptive Calm of Summer

While the summer break can offer vital respite for children and teenagers grappling with mental health disorders, it is crucial to acknowledge that the mere reduction of academic stress during this period does not mean that the fundamental mental health issues are resolved. This time should instead be regarded as a brief reprieve, a calm before the storm, providing an ideal opportunity to prepare young individuals with the necessary coping skills and emotional tools to manage future academic challenges. It is important to remember that many mental health conditions, including mood disorders and personality disorders, are long-term and typically necessitate ongoing intervention by mental health professionals. Therefore, the summer months should be used proactively to engage with healthcare providers, explore therapeutic options, and establish a supportive network that can help sustain mental well-being throughout the school year.

Encouraging Your Child to Seek Treatment

Encouraging a child, youth or adult, to engage in mental health treatment, especially during the summer months, requires a blend of understanding, patience, and clear communication. Here are several strategies parents can employ to gently guide their child towards accepting help:

  1. Normalize Mental Health Conversations: Begin by normalizing discussions about mental health within your household. Share insights in an age-appropriate manner, emphasizing that mental wellness is just as crucial as physical health. This approach helps reduce stigma and opens the door for more profound conversations.
  2. Highlight the Benefits of Timely Support: Explain the unique advantages of utilizing the summer months for treatment, such as having more free time to focus on self-improvement without the pressures of school. Frame the summer as a season of growth and preparation, where they can develop skills to help them thrive in the upcoming school year and in the long term.
  3. Set Collaborative Goals: Work together with your child to set goals for their mental health treatment. Goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Encourage them to think about what they want to accomplish by the end of summer, such as managing anxiety or improving relationships with peers.
  4. Reassure Them of Your Support: Children need reassurance that they’re not alone in this journey. Make it clear that you’re there to support them every step of the way, and that seeking help is a sign of strength and maturity. Your unwavering support can be a powerful motivator for them to engage in treatment.
  5. Connect Them to Peer Experiences: Sometimes, hearing about positive experiences from peers who’ve undergone similar treatments can be incredibly reassuring. If appropriate, and with confidentiality in mind, sharing success stories can help demystify the treatment process and reduce apprehension.
  6. Leverage Technology: Consider online therapy options if your child is hesitant about in-person sessions. Many young people find digital platforms more familiar and less intimidating, making it an excellent bridge to more traditional forms of therapy.
  7. Highlight the Fun Aspect: Mental health treatment doesn’t have to be dull. Many therapists incorporate creative, engaging methods such as art therapy, music therapy, or outdoor activities. Highlight these enjoyable aspects to pique your child’s interest.

Approaching the topic of mental health treatment with empathy, understanding, and encouragement can significantly influence your child's openness to engage in therapy during the summer months. Remember, the goal is to empower your child with the tools and resilience they need to face life's challenges, ensuring they emerge stronger and more confident.

Enhancing Resilience and Emotional Regulation

Summer provides a unique and invaluable opportunity for children and teens to engage in mental health treatment options such as therapy and counseling, free from the distractions and pressures of school responsibilities. This season is an ideal period to concentrate on building resilience and developing comprehensive coping strategies, which include learning to manage thoughts and emotions more effectively. Engaging with a psychiatrist or therapist during these months can be immensely beneficial, leading to a more confident and stable return to school in the fall. Moreover, this time allows for an in-depth exploration of personal issues and concerns in a relaxed environment, potentially leading to significant breakthroughs and the establishment of healthy habits that can endure throughout the school year.

The Role of DBT and CBT in Treatment

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) are highly effective, evidence-based therapeutic approaches employed at Innerspace Counseling. These methodologies are specifically designed to teach children and adolescents techniques to manage emotional distress, foster stronger interpersonal relationships, and enhance overall mental health. Key practices such as mindfulness and distress tolerance are central components of these therapies. At Innerspace Counseling, our Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) and Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) seamlessly integrate DBT and CBT to offer comprehensive support to our clients. These programs are tailored to address a wide range of mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and other related issues, providing a structured environment where patients can actively work on improving their psychological well-being with consistent professional guidance and support.

Innerspace Counseling’s Comprehensive Summer Programs

At Innerspace Counseling, we fully recognize the unique opportunities that summer presents for advancing mental health improvement. To harness these opportunities, we offer specialized summer programs, available both in-person at our well-equipped Old Bridge location and via telehealth accessible throughout New Jersey. These programs are thoughtfully designed to support young individuals in a nurturing and supportive environment, tailored to foster personal growth and mental well-being. Our dedicated team, comprising board-certified psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, and licensed therapists, collaboratively works to develop a personalized treatment plan for each client. This plan not only addresses existing mental health issues but also strategically prepares clients for the demands of the upcoming academic year. Through a combination of therapeutic techniques and continuous support, our summer programs aim to equip our clients with the tools they need to achieve both psychological resilience and academic success.

Support Beyond the Individual

Understanding friends and family's role in the treatment process is crucial for the success of mental health interventions. We strongly encourage the active involvement of loved ones in comprehending mental health care strategies and recognizing signs of severe issues, such as suicidal thoughts. This collaborative approach is vital as it ensures the creation of a comprehensive support system that significantly enhances the treatment outcomes for patients of all ages, including children, adolescents, and adults. By fostering an inclusive environment where family members and friends are educated and engaged, we help to build a network of informed supporters who can provide essential encouragement and understanding throughout the treatment journey. This not only aids in the recovery process but also strengthens the patient's support network, ensuring they have the necessary backing to face challenges both during and after treatment.


Postponing mental health treatment until after summer might seem like a reasonable option at first glance, but recognizing the potential benefits of using this period for therapeutic intervention can dramatically shift perspectives. Summer is more than just a hiatus from academic demands; it represents a critical window for growth, healing, and preparation. At Innerspace Counseling, we are deeply committed to providing the essential support and resources necessary for individuals across all life stages to develop robust coping skills and resilience. This foundational work ensures a strong and positive return to school and everyday life, setting the groundwork for continued success and well-being.

For those interested in learning more about the range of treatment options we offer, including our Intensive Outpatient Program and Partial Hospitalization Program, and how we can support your family’s mental wellness this summer, we warmly invite you to visit Innerspace Counseling. Take advantage of this opportune time to make this summer a transformative period towards lasting well-being. Let's work together to make this season a pivotal point in your or your loved one's mental health journey.