After reading "Life and death at Montana Academy," I felt compelled to respond with my experience. I attended MA between June 2015 and May 2017. I reflect on my time there fondly.

Prior to MA, I was unable to handle my severe anxiety, depression, insecurities and chaotic family life. I was failing out of high school, unable to get out of bed in the morning and unwilling to fulfill my basic academic responsibilities. I fought with and hid from my family. Internally, I was drowning in self-hatred and loneliness. Thinking myself undeserving of love, I had no friends. Medications and weekly psychotherapy had no impact on me.

Although I did not arrive at MA by choice, I willingly stayed because of the love and support I found there. Sometimes it was hell — the program doesn’t work for everyone — but ultimately it helped me confront life, which I had been terrified of living.

Though I still struggle with mental illness and insecurities, they are rarely debilitating. I have the confidence to pursue my dreams and the ability to navigate my emotions and relationships. I keep in contact with my MA therapists, staff and peers because MA saved my life.

Sophie Rosen,

Firebaugh, California

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