Opinion: The troubled teen industry is inhumane

Imagine you are peacefully sleeping at night – and suddenly you feel hands grabbing you.You have no idea what is going on. All of a sudden you are traveling across the country with strangers who kidnapped you. One day you are at home, and the next you are in the middle of nowhere trying to survive in the wilderness with other teens. This is unfortunately a reality for some ‘troubled’ teens.

The troubled teen industry is a network of privately owned facilities and institutions. They consist of therapeutic boarding schools, residential treatment centers, wilderness programs, conversion therapy and rehabilitation programs according to The Guardian. Most of these programs are unregulated. Teens get sent to these programs due to emotional and behavioral issues such as drug abuse, depression, anxiety and even one’s sexuality according to Edwards Pottinger: The Crime Victim Firm.

These programs have been promoted to parents who want to solve their teens’ issues. What makes these programs so harmful is that most of them have been known to be abusive, according to Edwards Pottinger. There have been many allegations of abuse and sexual assault within these programs. Most programs are for-profit, which means they are making money, rather than a public institution such as a hospital or a school, which is primarily non-profit. These programs are making billions of dollars each year, according to Edwards Pottinger.

Media personality Paris Hilton first came forward about her experiences with the troubled teen industry in 2020 according to USA Today. Since then, she has become an advocate for children who have endured trauma from the troubled teen industry. She has helped spread awareness and let it be known to more people about the awful things that these programs do.

Teens are not getting a say in where they go. Most teens have no interest in going to these programs. They are often forced into going according to Youth Rights. These teens should get a say in where they are going or if they should even be going at all. It is important for them to have a voice in the issue at hand.

I think parents should recognize that therapy is a viable option. Therapy is a much more humane way of going about their kids ‘issues’ rather then putting them through years of trauma.