Trails Carolina and Moonridge Academy testimony

I was taken sometime in the beginning of May in 2016. My mom had me come downstairs because two social workers were there to talk to me. I was used to her calling social workers for pretty much any reason so I didn’t think much of it. The female transporter—I think her name was Marissa—told me I was going to a week-long summer camp.

We spent the rest of the day driving and we spent the night at a hotel. Marissa promised to send a letter to my friends if I wanted to, but she never got a letter.

We started driving again early the next morning and they took me to Trails. There’s three rotations: base camp, expedition and Sky Valley. I got there when my group was on base. Two women with really long hair took me from the transporters and brought me to some sort of shed. The back wall was lined with shelves upon shelves of other people’s belongings. There were books, clothes, shampoo, deodorant, flashlights… Pretty much anything you can think of that a teenager would take to summer camp.

I realized it wasn’t a summer camp when they told me to take my clothes off. I hesitated because I was terrified and they snapped at me.

I had to take off my bra and underwear, too. I was completely naked in front of adult strangers. I had to spin around and squat and cough and all sorts of humiliating shit. They gave me new clothes. I could only keep my underwear, and some treatment centers won’t even let you keep that. I was given a training bra. It didn’t have a metal clip in the back or under wiring. And it was the same bra for everyone, from A cups to D cups. These bras were not supportive at all and I felt terrible for the bigger girls because their backs must have hurt like hell.

The uniform was awful, too. The shirt made me feel like I was being strangled and the crotch of the pants went halfway to my knees, so I constantly felt like my pants were falling off. And we only got two changes of clothes.

They gave me an ugly green and gray hiking pack. It was big enough that I could have climbed inside. I was given two water bottles, crocs, hiking shoes, a notebook, a mechanical pencil, a toothbrush, etc.

I later learned that these women lied to my parents. At that point, I had been clean from self-harm for a month. They told my parents I had multiple cuts on my body.

The two women walked me up a hill to a huge log cabin with a wrap-around porch. There was a group of girls in the same clothes as me sitting in a circle. I told the women that I had to use the bathroom. They let me go, but they kept the door part way open so they could watch me

I sat in the circle and we went around saying our name, age and why we were there. No one said their pronouns. That just didn’t happen at Trails.

When you first get there or if you’re deemed unsafe, you get wrapped up in a tarp at night. Because it’s so hot out there in the summer and because it was so tight, I could barely breathe. I cried most of the night and no one even offered me a tissue. I begged for them to let me call my parents but we weren’t allowed to. Ever. It was awful.

The next day, we left base camp. We got all our belongings and camping gear attached to our backpacks. It was so heavy that I could barely walk. We got in a transport van. I was assigned to sit next to Rosie (fake name). When no one was looking, she held my hand.

The van dropped us off at the bottom of a mountain. We got in a line and had to hike. We weren’t even over the first hill when Julianne (also fake name) took off her backpack and started screaming that she couldn’t do it. I honestly don’t blame her one bit. She had been at Trails for three and a half months. I couldn’t imagine. I mean, it was my first full day. When she put her backpack on, we started hiking again. We hiked all day and only stopped for lunch. The food was so gross that I swallowed it with water like a pill. We hiked so much that Rosie passed out, but the staff did nothing. We passed perfectly good campsites but they made us keep walking. It was nearly sunset when we were allowed to stop and set up our tarps. We collected water from a river and put it through a filter before drinking it. We had to use a hole in the ground as a toilet and we only got three squares of toilet paper.

The first letter I got from my parents was called an accountability letter. I had to read it out loud to everyone in an evening circle. My parents were told to write it and they had no idea I had to read it out loud. The whole letter blamed me for everything, even stuff that made no sense, like not giving my parents enough time to buy more crickets before my pet lizards got hungry. It’s not my fault that crickets are unreliable and like to drop dead sometimes. And for something called an accountability letter, my parents didn’t take accountability for anything. They didn’t acknowledge my mom hitting me or my dad being absent most of the time.

Kathy started getting obsessed with me. I think I was the only student who was nice to her. She was usually super mean and violent. She started asking me to run away with her and telling me she loved me. It got really frustrating so I talked to Rosie, and she told me to tell an adult. I did, but they thought I was lying. That very night, as if I was in some twisted movie, Kathy and I were assigned to sleep next to each other. I don’t know what it was that she did but I didn’t like it and I tried to make her stop.

I told the therapist when she saw us that week and she had the nerve to tell me that I was at equal fault. She lied to my parents about it and I had no way to tell them the truth.

New girls got there a lot. There was one who I will call Leah. She was super short, super petite and not used to drinking water. That meant that whenever a time frame involved getting a water bottle checked off, we would all be waiting for Leah. She would spend the entire time frame drinking tiny sips of water instead of helping us. Usually I felt bad for her because I was the new girl once, too. But sometimes it got annoying. Like when we had to restart the time frame because she couldn’t drink her water and we all had to drink half a water bottle three times.

On the morning of August second, Rosie and I were taken away from the campsite. We saw our parents for the first time in months. The six of us spent a week at some sort of transitioning house for kids who graduate from our group. I had been through something traumatizing and I was about to go through it again. I just didn’t know it yet.

Rosie and I were brought to Moonridge Academy in Utah. The first thing I noticed is how dumb the bright red door looked. I was strip searched again, but this time they wrote down every mark on my body. Scars, moles, scrapes.

It was awful there. I felt suffocated and trapped and hopeless. I nearly tried to kill myself dozens of times. I followed the rules and pretended I was doing better so I could go home.

They wouldn’t give me painkillers when I had a sore throat and a fever. Not even a cough drop. I was forced to eat until I threw up. I don’t eat chicken because I raise them as pets, but I was forced to eat it at Moonridge Academy. Even when I was crying. I had a panic attack on my first day but instead of helping me, they threatened to physically restrain me.

One time, the art teacher had us draw the American sign language alphabet but then Rosie and I were given a category three consequence for practicing outside of class. That meant we couldn’t have free time for a week. No journals, books, art supplies, stress balls, kinetic sand. Nothing that could help us if we felt stressed or sad. They used our coping skills as punishments.

One of the girls got sick. Her period was way too heavy and she’s a vegetarian. She was passing out and throwing up. Two weeks after she first started saying she needed a doctor, they took her to the hospital. She passed out on the drive and nearly died from anemia.

I was regularly threatened, sworn at, belittled, compared to the other girls, lied about, manipulated and made fun of by staff and students alike. I witnessed physical abuse. I witnessed emotional abuse. I cried in my sleep almost every night and staff would tell me to shut up.

Moonridge Academy was not a healthy place for anyone, much less adolescents with mental health issues.

Please do not send your child to Trails or Moonridge Academy.

Source:

The originally testimony on Reddit

Hyde School testimony

Being sent to Hyde School in Bath, Maine was the catalyst for a series of events that would destroy my life and self worth for many years.

I am one of the girls interviewed in the 48 hours episode about former Hyde School student Alix Tichelman regarding her involvement with the Google executive  She was my best friend at Hyde in 2002-2003 when I attended in Bath for a few months, and during the prior summer challenge.

I went to Hyde my first year as a junior in 2002-2003. I was sent to Hyde because my adoptive parents couldn’t handle me, so they paid 40k to have me imprisoned at this character cult. My mother used to beat me regularly and my father always travelled. My father was having an affair which didn’t come out until after I turned 18 and divorced my mother to be with this woman. He never disclosed this in any family “session” at Hyde. I revealed in the family seminars that my cousins had molested me for years, and Hyde responded by doing nothing to help me work through this. No counseling. No mental health help (not that they actually employed any mental health professionals). No family “therapy” beyond that visit (which was pseudo-therapy, really, as it was run by amateurs who all lacked proper credentials). After my mother left, she told me on the phone, “We can’t let the rest of the family find out [about the molestation] because it would ruin them, and you’re the black sheep anyway.”

I spent my whole life at Hyde on 2-4, which was the 24/7 punishment labor crew, where I was treated like a slave with no dignity. I built a gravel road along the track while on work crew and received zero education, classroom or otherwise. The reason I was put on 2-4 so often was because I acted like a bitch to everyone who bullied me and made fun of me. I challenged the teachers to make sense and the faculty and medical providers (which was really just a nurse or a quack referral doctor in town) to truly help my declining mental state. While I basically lived on 2-4,  I grew very close to Liz Steinberg (who I ran away with) and Alix Tichelman.  I eventually started dating a boy who lived in town named Dennis. I’d always sneak over to his place. He was one of the only men other than Ross Forsbergh (who I am still friends with to date) on that whole campus of adults and peers, or in the town of Bath, that treated me with any dignity.

I was heavier at that time; around 200 lbs.  I developed an eating disorder at Hyde due to social pressure from students and faculty to change my body. I began cutting again there. I begged faculty for help with my depression and they referred me to a joke of a doctor in town who truly did nothing but treat me like wanting my adhd meds made me an addict.

In October, I’d finally had enough of 2-4 and being treated like shit, and having adults do nothing but criticize me while not helping me; while claiming to be “developing my character”, that I ran away. The constant abuse from staff and peers had simply become too much, and my repeated attempts to obtain any kind of adequate mental health treatment proved futile.. After I ran away from campus, I was raped by a man who I had thought would help me find safety. I went to the local hospital to report the rape, and they did a rape kit, and I filed a report with the police.  Then I was brought back to the Hyde campus from the hospital. This was a few days before Thanksgiving break.

I remember being driven from the hospital to campus while clothed in a dingy one color two piece sweat suit (think champion grey) and led to Hyde’s nurse. I was then forced to walk in this sweat suit (because my clothes were taken with the rape kit) back to my dorm at the far end of the populated campus, while the students and faculty stared at me and talked under their breath. I felt like I was wearing a Scarlett letter and I was told by the faculty that this was the first step in taking accountability for my actions because I had caused my rape, because I had run away.

Meanwhile, I was inappropriately touched by guys who were on the lacrosse team, and because they were considered to be gods on campus, no one believed me. I had it at that point. Disgustingly, a few of these guys even reached out to me recently via social media  to tell me I look great now as an adult.  The Gaulds and my faculty “team” decided that I would be best suited to stay on Inpost during Thanksgiving Break as an accountability for running away, after I had just been raped, exploited and given no mental health care. This meant I couldn’t go home like all the other students.

Inpost was supposed “to help build my character”.  I was to shadow an older buddy at all times. However they, like everyone else, didn’t actually care to assess my well being, and so during some unattended time I swallowed a LOT of pills in my dorm room, trying to overdose.

I was found unconscious and was rushed to the hospital. They pumped my stomach, and when I was revived, I was extremely upset that I was still alive. I was held on a “Temporary Restraining Order” in a psych ward for 3 days, then for a few more days, and they only released me when I lied my way out by saying I had taken so many pills by mistake. Then they finally transferred me home. I never went back to that hell hole of torture called Hyde.

After returning home, I eventually went to a residential program for a year and a half called Graydon, and later graduated from a mainstream high school in 2004 with honors. My eating disorder that had begun at Hyde now had me weighing in at 86 lbs, like the Olsen twins at the height of their ED’s. I had severe depression, constant paranoia, couldn’t trust adults, had no friends, experienced night terrors, and continued to hurt myself and hide it.

The Gauld family (who founded and run Hyde) made it clear to 16 year old me that my actions were the reason I was raped, and said I needed to “own” that. They provided no follow-up counseling or mental health care after this occurred. I was diagnosed later in life with CPTSD that stemmed from these Hyde experiences and from the molestation I endured during my early adolescent years. These events shaped a self destructive pattern for my adulthood.

After Hyde finally said they “couldn’t handle me” and sent me home post-suicide-attempt and mental hospital, and after I had endured even more abuse at Graydon, I began using drugs heavily and acting in a hypersexual manner to numb the pain. I ended up dating a guy who was 21 while I was a senior in high school and he was physically abusive and used to beat the living shit out me. Mind you, I was totally conditioned to think I was the problem; I thought this is what I deserved.

We got engaged and I finally started getting treatment. I was scared of every adult and doctor and so I regressed again and began committing crimes; stupid, petty offenses, but kept getting locked up. I’ve turned my life around and I’m doing well but the nightmares, the trauma, the urges to hurt myself to control my pain and numb it still exist, and worst of all, every human I’ve trusted as an adult has used this past to hurt me in one way or another. They used this trauma as some type of evidence to show why I don’t deserve to be be loved, treated fairly, or otherwise. I still struggle with self worth and have been in a number of abusive relationships.

Now, luckily, I have no criminal record on paper. I’ve been in counseling for years. REAL counseling, with LICENSED therapists, not the unqualified faculty who oversaw our “group seminars” at Hyde, who used non-evidence-based methods to “help” kids who needed help.  I am about to graduate college for criminal justice with a 4.0. I volunteer, and run an animal rescue on a farm. However, nothing will ever make the negligence and abuse I suffered at the hands of Hyde that they categorized as “character building” and their lack of accountability, and how it shaped my life, okay.

Hyde stole my sense of self worth, my value, my ambitions, my innocence, it taught me to believe that my rape, my painful emotions, etc. were all my fault and that I deserved them. They began (what I consider) grooming me to believe I deserved to be treated like garbage my whole life by family, friends, and partners. They taught me that I was a mistake and I didn’t deserve love. What Hyde used was simply abusive, manipulative, brainwashing, punishing behavior modification techniques, and coercive thought reform, but offered no effective help for underlying conditions and trauma. They have been doing this for decades, and they are still open!

Graydon was awful, too. They made me not trust people, and fear that every human would only hurt or abuse me. Graydon made me realize that if I didn’t put on the expected act and embody the picture of a perfect, well adjusted person, I would never have any bit of a normal life. Graydon nurtured the seed that Hyde planted; the seed that conditioned me to believe I was broken, that everything bad that happened to me was my fault, and that I could never be truly loved.

So to those of you who say this place helped you, great, but don’t for a second diminish the fact that this establishment unlawfully, knowingly, and intentionally ruined others’ lives and changed their whole futures in a negative way.

Megan Elizabeth Toohey Price

Source

The original testimony on the Fornits Home for Wayward Web Fora

I was never in a troubled teen institution, but I was in a rehab for adults ran similarly (daily emotional abuse that could turn into physical violence) and subsequently I had an even worse experience in a psychiatric hospital in Latin America

Both of these experiences happened in Latin America. In the shady rehab I was in, the day was structured around totally acceptable, healthy, scientifically valid activities like equine assisted therapy, yoga, meditation, exercises to guide you in reflecting on your good qualities, etc. But there was also daily emotional abuse that culminated in physical violence. During my time there, an older man was scapegoated by the whole “family”, as they refered to us as a whole. Even I was made to participate in berating him for continually complaining or reacting to the daily harassment he underwent, as part of daily rituals that involved shaming people for small or big transgressions or rule breaking. He was humiliated for claiming to be unable to do the daily required 30 minutes physical exercise, for refusing to shower (if you didn’t know this can be a symptom of severe depression), for being picky with the food (also could be a sign of depressionor just a byproduct of stress/anxiety). The doctor on hand was a sociopath that when I claimed I experienced suicidal thoughts as a child because of abuse from my family, that I developed a fixation on health/illness because I didn’t get fed or taught hygiene as a kid, and that my family had been neglecting of crippling issues I had in childhood, he responded by claiming that I had Munchausen syndrome. He said this also in response to me claiming that reading stories online of childhood abuse other people experienced led to a lot of anger and fights that led to me getting locked up there. In general, we were all screamed at frequently that we were the real villain of the situation and indebted to our families, even though it’s a stereotype that addicts come from dysfunctional homes. I myself have not experienced addiction, I was just “rebelling”, still, at 24.

Going back to the old man who was constantly “fucking up”… One day we’re watching a movie, and I hear a commotion, look over, and a forty year old, beefed up “godfather” was holding the old man still and throwing punches. The old guy probably started the physical altercation, but it was a reaction to daily harassment.

We weren’t fed properly, hygiene practices were questionable, there was no actual therapy, only people “up to here” with our antics snapping their fingers and giving out sermons that revealed backwards views on mental illness and addiction. The experts there (therapists and psychiatrists) had the same mentality.

I was there 2 months and years later did another 2 months in a private psychiatric hospital where they refered to themselves as the best in the city. I mostly won’t mention the particulars of the way I personally was victimized, I’ll just talk about the nightmare of the general rules, practices, policies. They throw you on a patio and leave you there 12 hours with pretty much nothing to do. There’s not even a clock to mark the time. In the morning, you can take a short trip to another patio to get a snack at a certain point, and in the afternoon young psychologists doing social service in order to graduate from an associated university will teach short classes on emotional regulation or something, or organize a game. There are also teen nurses also doing social service to graduate high school who come in and gawk and act awkward for a couple of hours a day. You get 3 nutrient deficient meals. Anyone who commits themselves is allowed a shower in the morning or afternoon, but they’re denied clean clothes for the whole span of their stay. I experienced it too, because I wasn’t accepting visits from my family at the start. They were also not visiting anyway at first. Not sure if I was allowed them. I washed my clothes after wearing them in the shower at the advice of a homeless woman who was on her way out the day I came in. I wasn’t the only one in this predicament. Two others complained of the same. Another woman was totally mute, but visibly dirty. We had no opportunity to do laundry. I learned later that my family had been paying the fee that was supposed to grant me the luxury of getting my laundry done weekly, but it took a while to get it sorted out even after they intervened.

Then there are the actual interactions with permanent staff. I cried hysterically the first couple of hours after landing there and begged to talk to someone, their tone in dealing with me was always impatient, and I was threatened to be tied to a bed if I didn’t behave. My family made wild accusations about me and I was spoken to as if I was guilty until proven innocent. The staff, including psychiatrists, and therapists, blindly accepted false symptoms my family reported, even when they had no way of proving they were true. They took my family’s word over mine, totally erasing my experiences. I received electroshock therapy to “treat” fake symptoms, while the worst of my real issues went unaddressed.

Their policies mirrored those of the for profit rehab I was in. But here, the they had the power, the arrogance, and the “reputation” to dish out invasive prescriptions and treatments, playing god while pandering to families like mine who are interested in control more than the wellbeing of the people they’re granted power over. I never got to know the stories of the women around me, but there was so much casual cruelty in the daily practices, I doubt they fared better. Places like this also need to be scrutinized, even if people in white coats are running them.

Source:

The originally testimony on Reddit

Ellen at Solstice Residential Treatment Center

This testimony was found on Google. All rights goes to the original author Ellen


Throughout my time at Solstice, I had Jeff as a therapist. He insisted that I did not have an eating disorder despite my existing diagnosis and my intrusive thoughts pertaining to my body weight/shape/size, exercise, and food intake. Prior to admitting to Solstice I did not have compulsive exercise tendencies because I was too depressed and simply used restriction as my disordered behavior. By the end of my time at Solstice, exercising no matter my mood felt necessary and easy to do. Once I left, I was consumed by my eating disorder worse than ever before, including both my old new behaviors. In the last months of the program I had begun to lose some of the weight that I would then lose before getting back into treatment (this time for eating disorders). I had only stopped engaging in most of my behaviors while I was there because I was desperate to leave the program and return home. This of course eased up as I reached the highest levels of the program, and the behaviors started returning. I would throw away food on Fridays, not eat dinner after horsemanship, sneakily count calories, push myself harder in my workouts, and more. It was second nature for me, and I had gotten back to it with no one noticing. I wouldn’t stop unless someone stopped me. With these behaviors came suicidal thoughts, so I decided to confess to Jeff. He had me continue with applying for my final level because he felt I should leave anyway. For what reason, I am unsure. I had been there for over a year and didn’t have anything left to gain, so I didn’t fight it. I went up in front of the treatment team, and when Jamie asked me if I was engaging in behaviors, I said yes. Jeff said to me in response, “Well weekly weights were done yesterday, and if you’re trying to lose weight you’re not doing a very good job.” When I went home shortly after, my mother and the scale confirmed that that had been wrong. I don’t know his motivation for saying that, but it was mortifying to hear in front of the whole room of people and especially because my eating disorder was louder than it had been for a while. Since leaving Solstice over three years ago, I have been in and out of eating disorder treatment at Monte Nido, only spending at most 3 months in a row in outpatient treatment. It has been nearly impossible, and I have lost significant amounts of weight over that time. None of the tens of therapists who I have had since Jeff have even doubted for a second that Anorexia Nervosa is my main diagnosis.

  • – The length of stay for a residential program should NEVER be so set in stone and should be flexible for each individual.
  • – The message given to parents to ignore their children, regardless of diagnosis, upon request to be pulled or sent home.
  • – The disregard for requests in switching therapists, ~50% of the success in therapy is found to be a result of a good match with patient and clinician.
  • – The harsh consequence based organization of the program, including children deciding the consequences and levels of other children (safety council), being forcefully silenced and punished if not done correctly (com-block), and so much more.
  • – The requirement (for most) to engage in exercise in a rigid manner despite clinical diagnosis that should suggest otherwise.

There are more things that I believe were wrong with the way that things were run, however I believe that those are more opinion based as opposed to based in true clinical negligence. I do understand that for some people, especially those with defiance disorders or tendencies, Solstice could be productive. The strict policies and follow-through with consequences can teach a different set of behaviors leaning towards respecting authority. However, for many, including myself, it should be indicated to prospective parents that this treatment is not for everyone. The parents should be informed of all treatment approaches used, and about the logic for length of stay for their individual child.


Early 2021 two teenage girls ran from the facility. They were not dressed for the winter. We pray that they can be brought back to California where they came from.

Sources: