Amberwing Virtual PHP: Meet Nate.

Meet Nate. Nate is a 17-year-old student from International Falls. Like so many teens, he was recently going through a hard time and needed some help. And that help came from Amberwing.

Amberwing, located in Duluth, MN, offers intensive mental health care called Partial Hospitalization Programming (PHP).  PHP helps children, youth and adolescents who are facing serious emotional or mental health problems. It happens during the day – five and a half hours per day, for about 15 days. During non-pandemic times, Amberwing patients meet face-to-face with therapists, attend therapeutic group sessions and participate in group activities. Because of COVID-19 and social distancing practices in place, the program is now 100% virtual. This has been an adjustment for staff and patients, but it has also opened up the program to those who normally wouldn’t be able attend because they live too far away.

Starting a new program and meeting new people can be intimidating, especially making those connections virtually. Nate was nervous and kept to himself at first but working with staff Sig, Laura, Lori, Nikki, Dr. Sutherland and the entire DBT team, Nate started to open up. “I’d been bottling things up,” says Nate. “It was comforting to know that everyone was there for a reason – and focusing on themselves, to get better.”

DBT skills are a big part of the Ambering program. According to Nate, ABC PLEASE and Radical Acceptance were important to him, as well as learning that the more you apply the skills, the better you get at mastering them. Mindfulness is another big part of the DBT curriculum – read more about that here.

Nate’s mom, Shawn, appreciated communication with staff members; the daily check-in helped her stay connected and focused on Nate’s progress. “The Amberwing program didn’t just teach strategies but following through with everyday life examples, applying strategies to what he was going through on a daily basis. I highly recommend this family-oriented program – it is thorough and the virtual program is appreciated and needed everywhere, especially in rural MN.”

When asked what he’d like to share with anyone that was hesitant to start the Amberwing program, Nate had some words of wisdom to share:

  • Be open to the program.
  • Be friendly with fellow group members and instructors.
  • The staff is there for you – they truly have your best interest in mind.
  • Be open and honest – makes it go faster and smoother.
  • Apply yourself into the program – it is effective and if you apply yourself, you’ll gain skills to use after the program.

“Negative things brought me to Amberwing,” says Nate. “I gave those up and I know that will help in the long run. The PHP program improved me and helped me learn skills to use in my everyday life. My relationships are building up again with family and friends, and I am happier. My time at Amberwing saved my life.”

If you would like additional information about the Amberwing program, visit the website or give them a call at (218) 355-2100.

Click here to read more about a middle schooler who talks with us about the DBT program.

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