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Stories from the Field: Mental Health and the Outdoors

Feb 21, 2023

Carrie McLaughlin is the parent of a former wilderness therapy student. Carrie shares her story about the family's struggles when their son, while in his teens, battled with substance use disorder. She shares incidents of her son refusing school, a mobile crisis unit, and a house party that went out of control. Carrie discusses outpatient and residential treatment and how her son wouldn't participate or take advantage of it. Carrie reveals how she learned about a wilderness therapy program in Idaho and how she felt after he was taken from their home and brought to the program. Carrie talks about their family's treatment journey, including a relapse in which her son returned to the wilderness program for more help.  Carrie informs us as to what is going on with her son now.  Carrie also shares how she decided "I needed help," how other parents helped her while her son was in treatment, and how she decided to become a peer parent at

Season 15 of Stories from the Field is focused on parents' stories and is underwritten by Other Parents Like Me ( We are grateful for all does to support parents whose children are struggling with mental health and substance use disorders.