Teen Mental Health Programs - Childhood Trauma | Heal For Life

You can feel better and turn your life around

We help young people aged 12 - 17 years to heal from childhood trauma or abuse.

Our teen mental health programs empower teens with the skills and knowledge they need to feel better about themselves and turn their lives around.

No teenager wants to behave badly

We believe that no young person wants to behave badly. If you have experienced trauma or abuse,  your behaviour is likely to be a result of unexpressed fear and anger stemming from childhood trauma.

Childhood trauma physically affects the way our brain develops. This impacts how we think, how we process emotions and our behaviour. Trauma needs to be healed. It doesn’t just go away and you can’t just ‘get over it.’ 

If you have decided it’s time to change, we can help. Heal For Life’s mental health programs for teens are for any young person who wants to behave differently and feel better about themselves.

Person sitting on beanbag - Heal For Life helps with child behaviour problems

Young people need to know their behaviour is a result of the trauma they suffered. This takes the blame away and empowers the young person to change.

Symptoms of trauma can be healed

Some symptoms that you may be experiencing if you are suffering from trauma include:
  • Difficulty in relationships – making friends, maintaining relationships, or isolating yourself
  • Hypersensitivity – anger, fear, shame, self-hate
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts
  • Lack of engagement with school
  • Addictions to drugs, alcohol or porn
  • Low self-esteem
  • High achiever expectations “I must be perfect and never am”
  • Inability to concentrate

The causes of trauma are varied and may include bullying, the effects of divorce, death or illness, or abuse. This trauma may be experienced on a single occasion, or as a repeated occurrence. Trauma can occur without parents knowing about it, and even without you knowing that you’ve experienced trauma. It’s important to realise that what is traumatic to a child may appear ‘harmless’ to an adult. 

We can help you feel better about yourself and your life

Heal For Life is designed to be the safe, welcoming home every young person deserves. 

During our teen mental health program, you will be encouraged to feel your feelings, to let yourself express the emotions that you may not have been safe to feel. Through learning how to identify and express these emotions, you can change your behaviour and feel happier about your life.

Set on 120 acres of beautiful bushland​

On our beautiful nature reserve, you will have comfortable accommodation while you learn about self-esteem, coping mechanisms, overcoming depression and anxiety, healthy relationships and boundaries.

During free time you can enjoy being outside and, if it’s warm enough, you can swim in our large dam.

Heal For Life's Hennessy House - help with child behaviour problems

Run by survivors of childhood trauma

All of the facilitators and volunteers who will support you on a program are survivors of childhood trauma or abuse. This is called ‘peer support’ and research has shown that it’s essential for healing.

Our team will be able to relate to your experience (and any abuse or trauma you may have experienced) in a way that will help you feel truly understood and safe enough to feel, express, share and heal.

Teen mental health program outline

Our 5 day teen mental health program is run every four months with a maximum of 6 teens.

On Sunday you’ll meet other guests, the peer support team and be shown around so you are familiar with the place.
The group will share dinner together, get to know each other, discuss what to expect from the Healing Program and discuss what each person needs in order to feel safe during the week.

This is an example of the daily schedule during our Teen Program

8.30 am


3.00 pm

Free Time

9.00 am


3.30 pm

Workshop 3

10.00 am

Labour of Love

4.30 pm

Journal Writing & Free Time

10.30 am

Workshop 1

5.00 pm


11.30 am

Free time

6.00 pm

One on One

12.30 pm


6.30 pm


2.00 pm

Workshop 2

7.30 pm

Evening Activity

Guest Experience
“I wanted to not feel frightened when I visited other people’s houses, whether they’ve got a brother or not now … I can visit without feeling frightened – I look forward to staying with friends whether they have a brother or not”
Sept 2018


Info & Logistics

Teen Programs are run every four months

We wish to keep our mental health programs for teens as affordable as possible for all guests, and we trust you will opt to pay the fee that best meets your financial situation.

As we receive no Government assistance for the work we do we rely on parents paying as much as they can afford to enable us to continue offering our services.

When you register for our teen mental health program we will provide you with a confirmation email providing more information on what to bring. 

Parents will need to buy and bring food that their child enjoys, including fresh fruit and vegetables. 

The food will be prepared and cooked by volunteers with the guests’ help.

Further details about what to bring will be provided upon registration.

The following fee covers the training  and 5 nights of shared accommodation in the Hunter Valley, NSW.

The cost of the workshop is $1500 including accommodation.

When we receive your application, we will confirm your registration by calling you to process your payment via credit card over the phone.

If service is paying for their client to attend the program cost is $2000.

We don’t want your child to miss out on the opportunity to heal because of financial difficulties. If you cannot afford Option 1, please call the office and ask to speak to Donna.  She will organise a payment plan that works for you.  We want to find a way to ensure every child in need is helped.

FAQs about the Teen Healing Program

We ask that all our guests agree to some key safety principles so we can keep ourselves and one another safe. Apart from that, the only requirement is that you want to come, want to change and heal, and that you agree to try all the activities and workshops. Teen mental health is important and complex, and we will respect you as the whole person you are.

Usually yes. Depending on the number of guests on your week you may share a room with one other guest or have the room to yourself. You will be spending the week at Hennessy House. There is a main lounge/kitchen/dining room in the middle. The team will sleep at one end of the house and the guests will sleep at the other. Two Peer Support Volunteers will sleep in the team area to help you if you need anything throughout the night.

You will be staying at Hennessy House with other young people and a team. We have swings, a sandpit, an anger pit, a boxing bag, ‘The Barn’ (a space for workshops and creativity), paddocks with horses, and access to a dam.

You will be staying at Hennessy House with other young people and a team. We have swings, a sandpit, an anger pit, a boxing bag, ‘The Barn’ (a space for workshops and creativity), paddocks with horses, and access to a dam.

Yes, however if you want time on your own, that is okay too. Our program recognises that we need safety and community to heal, we cannot heal in isolation. There will be times when the guests and team will participate in workshops, and there will be free time as well.

We recognise that it is completely normal to feel scared when coming to a new place away from home. It can be scary to address the feelings or bad stuff that happened too. Our support team felt similarly when they first came to Heal for Life too, and they are
there to support you.

If you choose to come to our program it is because you are ready to look at your emotions, understand and change behaviour and to find better ways of coping when you don’t feel okay.

Depending on the individuals who attend that week, there may be workshops on safety, safe places and feelings, boundaries, visualisations (to help you connect to yourself), processing emotions, information on how trauma effects the brain, Attachment theory, Transactional Analysis, coping mechanisms, strengths and affirmations.

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