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Research: Wilderness Therapy For Teens Is More Effective, Less Expensive Than Traditional Treatments

Courtesy T. Burdette

New research from the University of New Hampshire shows wilderness therapy is more effective and cheaper than traditional methods for treating adolescents with substance use and mental health issues.

In wilderness therapy, teenagers receive treatment in the context of outdoor experiences like backpacking trips or rock-climbing.

The study found that these outdoor behavioral health programs had higher completion rates, better long-term outcomes, and were less expensive than traditional office-based treatment programs.

The study's authors hope the results will encourage insurance companies to begin covering outdoor behavioral health programs more regularly.

Jason Moon is a senior reporter and producer on the Document team. He has created longform narrative podcast series on topics ranging from unsolved murders, to presidential elections, to secret lists of police officers.
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