High School for daughter with depression

My daughter is dealing with depression and has survived a suicide attempt. She went back to high school, 10th grade, but sadly is now dealing with memories of being molested by a middle school teacher. She also has ADHD. She is bright but is having problems with motivation and is not keeping up. The pandemic has not helped. She is on meds, doing therapy and it seems that her high school is becoming part of the problem. I have heard of Orinda Academy  and Bayhill High School but the posts  are a few years old and seem to reference boys. Does anyone have experience with these schools and girls? Are there other schools, other suggestions. She has had the most painful and  difficult year of her life and we need to find a safe supportive school for her. Help!!!!

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Could look into Holden High in Orinda.  My friend's son with ADHD, anxiety, and depression went there and had a good experience, graduating a few years ago.  I went to see him once, because we were meeting for coffee at a local cafe (and he got the time wrong), and there was a kid outside playing the guitar and helpful kids inside.  At the time they opened a few hours early and the students could hang out in the lounge.  

Other suggestions: Some kind of exercise she enjoys.  tennis, running, bicycling, hiking. .Even following an exercise or dance routine on a screen is better than sitting around all day, but getting out in green spaces can also be very helpful. Also, meditation, guided or not. Start yourself, and ask her to join, so it is less pressure. 

Hi, really sorry your daughter (and you) are going through this. One of my closest friends enrolled her daughter in Holden, and she has found it a really supportive environment her teen who has a range of mental health and academic challenges.

Mentoring academy is very one-on-one and supportive, my son was very drawn to that community and a friend of ours has a daughter who goes there.  Maybe it will click for her?  I hope she feels better soon!

Also, I second the suggestion of group activities, exercise.  There are great online communities, e.g. I go to  makingwavesstudio.com (a zumba class that moved to online, lots of love and encouragement, if she likes to dance!).

My daughter has struggled trauma and depression and is right now at a Residential Treatment Program. It’s a very hard decision to come to but we had to make sure she was safe. I do know a lot of kids who return from RTC go to Orinda Academy with good results. We looked seriously into Bayhill and it’s a great school but at the time did not resonate with our daughter. The admit process requires kids to do visits, interviews and shadowing so they have to be motivated. Good luck. It’s a hard road and I hope you find a good placement for her. 

My daughter went to Orinda Academy and loved it - she looked forward to going to school everyday, which was a great relief for our family. The teachers are very warm and supportive towards the kids.  The academics were good - very individualized to each student and my daughter was well-prepared for college. The downside was the small size of the school - and the population of girl students was even smaller.  

My son, who is dyslexic, was absolutely MISERABLE in school for years- until we discovered Bayhill High School in Berkeley.  He started in 10th grade and is now in 12th.  It literally brings tears to my eyes to think about how much happier he has been since we made the switch- after years of suffering, we’ve finally found the right school for him.  Class size is very small- most have about 6 to 8 students- I think his biggest class ever had about 10 or 12.  The school is really great at giving the students enough support for them to be successful.  My son also told me that, unlike other schools he has attended, there are no mean kids at Bayhill.  That’s been his experience anyway.  They shifted relatively seamlessly to distance learning last March, and although my son does not like distance learning, he’s still managing to do ok.  There are definitely fewer girls than boys at the school, and since I don’t have a girl I can’t comment on what the experience is like for girls there, but if you contact the school they may be able to put you in touch with some parents of girls who can share their experience.  We also visited Orinda Academy and that seemed like a good option too.  Best of luck to you in finding a good match for your daughter!

Our daughter had success at Tilden Prep, in a similar situation. It’s one-on-one instruction, conducted at the student’s own pace. My daughter missed an entire semester of school due to depression and she was able to get caught up at Tilden. You are welcome to contact me for more info. 

My daughter who had struggled somewhat with Executive Function issues as well as dyslexia and depression attended Orinda Academy for her senior year and graduated in 2018. She felt like the community was really supportive and the faculty was a good combination of understanding and motivating. One positive sign for us was that she often brought up what they were discussing in classes or projects they were working on. She wanted to have a  "regular" high school experience (pre-COVID) without intense and unmanageable pressure. While she didn't really need the extra support the school provides in terms of tracking missing assignments, we were reassured to know that it was there in case things went awry. Our daughter also benefitted from the presence of  a Coyote Coast onsite counselor that she could check in with if she was having a hard day as well as Mollie Mowatt, then Dean of Students--who had a really great manner and was a good problem-solver. We drove my daughter to school from Berkeley initially, and then she started taking BART--and would walk to school with other students and get picked up by the school commuter van. I breathed a sigh of relief knowing she was in good hands all day. 

I second the suggestion for Holden High. My teen went there all 4 years of high school, graduating last spring. You won't find a more responsive and supportive place for a teen struggling with the issues you describe. If you contact them, they can put you in touch with a current or recent parent who can talk to you about your specific situation. Good luck to you and your daughter! 

Please check out Holden High in Orinda. My teen with mental health challenges, after trying several other high school environments,has thrived there.  My teen feels supported there and valued. The distance learning curriculum at Holden has been great as well and includes weekly therapy, ongoing support from an academic advisor and community meetings. The school even offers family therapy and parents support groups, all included in the curriculum. Holden has been a lifesaver for our family. 

Sorry to hear your daughter is having such a tough time! My daughter is in 10th grade and has severe depression (and some childhood PTSD) and after trying quite a few different therapies, a therapist I trust mentioned DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy) which seems to address the exact issues she has with herself. (helpful rundown here: https://www.centerforebt.com/dbt-video-esme-shaller-phd/

She's going to be starting a residential program at Newport Academy in San Rafael that provides DBT and ACT (to help her buy in to the idea that things can be better - she couldn't bring herself to honestly participate in the therapy at home, but is actually cautiously excited to start there). I stumbled across a lot of the info, so happy to share if your daughter seems to have similar struggles.