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Millennial ‘rehabs’ attempt to teach basic life skills



The term “rehab” conjures up images of addiction, intervention, and Lindsay Lohan circa 2007. But there’s a new breed of rehabilitation centers popping up across the country. Unlike their predecessors, these places are not intended to get patients to shed bad behaviors. These “Millennial rehabs” are all about teaching young adults the basic life skills they need to be self-sufficient.

Yellowbrick is an inpatient care center located in Evanston, Illinois. It charges roughly $27,500 for a one-month stay (depending on an individual’s personalized treatment plan), but the minimum stay at Yellowbrick is ten weeks. Patients receive 5 days of therapy each week. They live in shared apartments with chore charts. Curfew is strictly enforced.

At the Crossroads is a similar rehabilitation center in St. George, Utah. According to the program’s web site, “At The Crossroads will help any young adult achieve sobriety, independence, greater spirituality, and success. Transition programs for young adults are not easy to find, because many are primarily focused on abstinence; however, ATC will help with job training and applicable life skills.” This center is also a halfway house that teaches recovering addicts how to live on their own.

Both programs have a significant population of people with a history of drug abuse. While someone is in the throes of addiction, they’re not learning life skills like filing taxes or writing professional emails. Getting off of the drug(s) is only half the battle. A person might be sober now, but that person has a lot of catching up to do in terms of maturation and independence.

Other centers are less focused on substance abuse and more on mental health. Cottonwood in Tucson, Arizona focuses on millennials with mental health issues.

“Young adults with mental health problems lack motivation, insight, and the capacity to cope with daily life challenges inherent in an adult world,” the center’s website reads. “They are unable to deal with conflict, meet deadlines or face responsibilities such as paying bills and maintaining a home or apartment.”

The mental health issues that bring people to Cottonwood might not even be their own – the instability of one or both parents, or the parents’ relationship, is often a contributing factor in “failure to launch.”

“Failure to launch” is the diagnosis that lands a twenty-something in a treatment center like these. Patients are people who should be living independent adult lives. They are intelligent, capable, and almost exclusively from wealthy families. Yellowbrick knows their market; attendees spend time working through “the pressure to be exceptional.” The patients are people who generally know how to do laundry and turn in assignments at school or work… they’re just not doing those things. Others simply do not have the toolkit of knowing how to complete basic tasks. One Yellowbrick employee notes some of the patients must learn how to start a dishwasher.

Critics will be quick to note that no other generation has had rehabilitation centers like these. Millennials can pull a device out of their pocket and look up a step-by-step guide for how to do all of these household tasks. Others will see these facilities as symptoms of parenting failures. Many ascribe failure to launch to the sufferer’s lack of internal motivation.

Each patient’s reasons for enrollment are unique and personal. But with the high-priced help of a professional inpatient facility, many overcome the failure to launch and end up ready for takeoff.

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