2016 Professionals’ Weekend at Skyland Trail



On September 16-17, 30 mental health professionals and education consultants from around the country attended 2016 Professionals’ Weekend at Skyland Trail. In addition to receiving education credits and hearing from experts in the field, guests had the opportunity to see and stay in the new Rollins Campus for young adults.

Throughout the weekend, participants heard from chief medical officer, Dr. Ray Kotwicki; vice president of clinical services, Chris Cline; and young adult psychiatrist, Dr. Mary Burns. Guests also enjoyed presentations from vocational coordinator, Matthew Collins, lead counselor, Clerissa Cooper, and primary counselor, Catherine Moon.

“I believe all areas of Skyland Trail’s program provide the best clinical practices. Every area seems to be very client-centered and utilizes evidenced-based practices,” one guest explains.

“The individualized treatment plans were very impressive,” another professional describes. “The variety of services is very extensive, from the adjunctive therapies to vocational rehabilitation to the family involvement.”

Over the weekend, guests also enjoyed listening to the Skyland Trail alumni band and hearing from Skyland Trail alumni and alumni families as they shared their stories of recovery.

Opening in October 2016, the Rollins Campus for young adults offers 32 private bedrooms for young adults ages 18 to 25. This 35,000 sq. ft. facility is specifically designed for college-age adults and includes unique spaces to promote social interaction and engagement in treatment.


Photos can be found here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/100712342@N08/sets/72157670846349164/

Skyland Trail opens new campus for young adults


On October 13, Skyland Trail celebrated the grand opening of the Rollins Campus for young adults. Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter and officials from the City of Brookhaven and DeKalb County joined nearly 300 guests for a ribbon cutting program followed by tours of the 3.5 acre campus.

The Rollins Campus offers specialized residential psychiatric treatment for young adults ages 18 to 25 struggling with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses. It is a one-of-a-kind program and facility in the Southeast, and one of only a handful of similar programs nationwide.

The 35,000 sq. ft. Young Adult Treatment Center on the Rollins Campus is specially designed to meet the mental health needs and socialization styles of emerging adults. The facility includes 32 private bedrooms with private bathrooms; group therapy rooms and offices; a family room and client lounge with floor-to-ceiling windows; a dining room that opens to an outdoor dining patio and firepit area; and a courtyard with unique water features, a boardwalk, a bocce ball court, and patio area.

Skyland Trail, a nationally recognized nonprofit mental health treatment organization, has been part of the Atlanta community since 1989. Development and construction of the Rollins Campus was made possible by generous community support through the Changing Minds Campaign. Key contributors include The O. Wayne Rollins Foundation, the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, The James M. Cox Foundation, the J.B. Fuqua Foundation, and the Wilbur and Hilda Glenn Family Foundation.

“The new campus and treatment center will make a huge impact in Atlanta and the Southeast, where there are few options for this age group and this type of recovery-focused treatment,” says Amy Rollins Kreisler, executive director of the O. Wayne Rollins Foundation and Skyland Trail Board member. “For many young adult clients, Skyland Trail opens doors that once seemed closed and introduces opportunities that clients may never have felt capable of pursuing. We are proud to be a part of this endeavor.”

In 2015, 60 percent of Skyland Trail clients were young adults ages 18 to 26. This reflects a national trend of college-age adults struggling with mood and thought disorders and seeking treatment. According to an American College Health Association 2016 survey of 95,761 students, 17 percent of college students were diagnosed with or treated for anxiety problems during the past year, and 13.9 percent were diagnosed with or treated for depression. The numbers show an increase since the 2011 survey of 11.6 percent for anxiety and 10.7 percent for depression. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide remains the third-leading cause of death among people ages 15 to 24.

The opening of the Rollins Campus adds an additional layer of specialization to the individualized mental health treatment program at Skyland Trail.

“What is fun or therapeutic for someone who is 20 is not always enjoyable or helpful for an adult who is 45,” says Beth Finnerty, Skyland Trail president and CEO. “More mature adult clients ages 26 and older at the South Residential Campus focus on skills and growth opportunities to help them navigate where they are in their lives – jobs, spouses, children, or coping with the loss of a parent or loved one. Young adults ages 18 to 25 at the Rollins Campus will participate in activities focused on developing skills to successfully navigate the transition from adolescence to adulthood.”

Young adult clients typically participate in residential and day treatment services for about four months before returning home to their communities. Clients receive care from psychiatrists and therapists as well as experts in music therapy, art therapy, horticultural therapy, interfaith spiritual counseling, vocational counseling, nutrition and active living, and recreational therapy.

The new campus is adjacent to the existing Skyland Trail main campus in Brookhaven near the intersection of North Druid Hills RD and Buford Hwy.


Photos of the grand opening can be found here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/100712342@N08/sets/72157674054031661/


Little Keswick School Announces Transformation to Non-Profit Status



It is with great pleasure that I am writing to you today to inform you of an important transformation in the life of Little Keswick School (LKS).  Over the last several years, senior LKS staff and leadership have worked with expert independent educational and financial advisors to review the School’s status and to think strategically about the future of the School.

Careful consideration and study have made clear that Little Keswick School should become a non-profit organization, with an independent governing structure and robust fundraising capacities, in order to continue to be a leader in therapeutic education. In support of this initiative, Little Keswick Education Corporation (LKEC) was formed as a 501 (C) (3) organization and has purchased the School.

This new chapter in the history of the School will ensure that the dream and legacy of Bob and Libby Wilson will continue.  The mission, programs, approach, and methods of the School will remain the same. The administrative leadership team of Marc Columbus, Terry Columbus, Dr. Thomson, Jody Berkey and Gene Lemarr will continue in their current capacities. Little Keswick will remain the very special place that you know and love.  The important clinical and academic work that truly transforms the lives of students and families will continue.

As a non-profit organization, Little Keswick School will be able to raise funds more effectively than it could a private, for-profit school. Little Keswick School will now be able to establish an annual fund and build a permanent endowment to support the future of the School for generations to come. The ability to raise funds and to create an endowment is crucial to keeping costs down and to making the School more accessible to families around the world that will benefit from our excellent programs.

Our team enthusiastically supports this transition. We look forward to sharing our vision for the future with you and we welcome your thoughts as we celebrate this important and exciting time in the life of Little Keswick School.



Marc J. Columbus


Little Keswick School



7 Things You May Not Know About Trails Carolina

  1. Starting on day 1, Trails is preparing families for life after wilderness.  We recognize that wilderness is the means, not the end.  Therefore, we have built a program and culture that prepares students for life after wilderness by placing a strong emphasis on family and transition planning.
  2. Trails is an expeditionary model of wilderness.  This means that we are not a base camp model, and we are not a nomadic model.  Our students depart on 2-week, wilderness-immersive expeditions, and then return to base camp to practice transferring their experiences to more everyday situations.
  3. Bring the entire family to Family Camp to celebrate your student’s accomplishments at the end of their stay at wilderness.  Family Camp is a 5-day reunification that allows our students, their parents, and their siblings to practice all of their new communication skills with the invaluable support of the Trails staff.

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4. The Trails classroom helps students transfer the wilderness experience into the real world.  When kids come to base camp they attend school in a conventional classroom setting and can earn up to three high school credits, accredited by SACS/AdvancEd.


5. Trails has the only program for youth (10-13) with gender-specific groups.  We believe there is therapeutic value to letting these young boys be boys and young girls be girls, regardless of whether the kids are in high school or middle school.

6. We practically have a zoo.  When Steve O’Neil joined Trails in 2012 he brought with him his passion and compassion for the fauna of Western North Carolina!  Contact acleveland@trailscarolina.com to setup a tour of our nature center, see the patients in the turtle hospital, or feed Gollum, the Trails hellbender!


7. Speaking of zoo, the horses in our equine program are in foster care.  The work that Trails students do in our equine program also helps to rehabilitate traumatized horses so that they can be adopted out to their forever homes 😃💕🐎

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Let’s showcase what makes our programs stand out! Send your 7 bullet point list of what makes your program unique to megan@natsap.org as well as any pictures that you would like to share.

In 2015, NATSAP started a “Spotlight on our Member Programs”, where we focused on one Member each week and highlighted them on our Social Networking sites. NATSAP recently started our new feature: 7 Things You Might Not Know About (Program Name)!