Finding a Safe Harbor for Your Son with Bipolar Disorder
We at Safe Harbor can help your son as he struggles with Bipolar Disorder, a condition characterized by periods of unusually elevated mood and energy followed by times of abnormally depleted mood and energy level. His mood swings back and forth between elation and dejection, tending towards the extremes, as compared to the typical “ups and downs” which most of us experience in life.
While he may encounter normal phases in between, the elevated phase (clinically referred to as “manic”), could find him easily sidetracked, with too much talking and too little sleep, racing thoughts, inappropriately high self-esteem, poor decision-making, and little self control (i.e.: irresponsible sexual activity, binge drinking).
His “depressive” (clinically low) periods might be evidenced with irritation, remorse, isolation, anxiety, gloom, lack of energy, excessive sleep, loss of interest in once-enjoyed friends or activities, suicidal thoughts or actions.
Family history and brain chemistry are considered factors, but causes for BPD are not clearly known. Other accepted factors include: a blood relative with BPD, substance abuse, an undue amount of a high stress or traumatic situation.
Safe Harbor…Throwing a Lifeline for Your Son with Bipolar Disorder
It is essential for your boy to receive a correct diagnosis, particularly due to the self-threatening nature of many of the behaviors linked with Bipolar Disorder; in some cases, commitment (whether voluntary or involuntary) will be called for, in order to allow treatment to continue. Early treatment is critical (that is, not confusing his symptoms with chronic depression) especially as there is a high suicide rate among teens with Bipolar Disorder.
A qualified professional can offer medications that can help control BPD symptoms, which should be taken along with therapy. Both are absolutely requisite for a lifetime, since it can be illusory to feel that symptoms are no longer manifest, causing one to think that his problems may have disappeared and he’s been cured.
Safe Harbor… Helping Troubled Boys Become Men of Character and Integrity
This unique, waterfront-based Christian residential boarding school is a salvation for troubled boys. Our program is similar to a therapeutic boarding school, but uses maritime training as the therapeutic model for at-risk teenagers. Safe Harbor is a safe, stable, structured, unconventional choice that can be a much more effective option than reform schools, foster care programs, or lockup in the juvenile justice system. We allow them to learn responsibility and experience behavior modification through seamanship, mentoring, counseling and spiritual focus, while also studying for a high school diploma.
Licensed mental health professionals and pastoral counselors offer both individual and group counseling opportunities. Most boys entering the program have had outpatient counseling but this has not led to anticipated change.
Our academic philosophy, built on the belief that education is a lifelong process that occurs in every area of life, uses the unique and creative learning approach to teach our curriculum, benefiting students who have not found success in a traditional academic setting thus far.
We assist the boys in becoming responsible, mature and independent young men through spiritual, educational and vocational training, that centers on full responsibility for the upkeep for the very boat on which they will live. Real-life learning teaches them boat repair/maintenance, welding and carpentry; lifestyle competence will instruct them on everything from how to establish and maintain credit/bank accounts, apply for a job, to cooking and housekeeping skills. Our goal is to prepare them for entrance into and success in the workplace, equipping them with a sturdy work ethic and positive character traits, like self-esteem, integrity, reliability and maturity.
Their learned knowledge of the water and boat, respect for your equipment and the elements, self-reliance and perseverance, will later be applied to what will become their broader view of the world; they must be able to analyze for themselves and then act, and overcome the challenges that they (and we all) will face in life.