Increased Precautions We're Taking in Response to COVID-19

LAST UPDATED ON 03/15/2021

As updates on the impact of the coronavirus continue to be released, we want to take a moment to inform you of the heightened preventative measures we have put in place at SUWS of the Carolinas to keep our patients, their families, and our employees safe. All efforts are guided by and in adherence to the recommendations distributed by the CDC.

Please note that for the safety of our patients, their families, and our staff, there are certain restrictions in place regarding on-site visitation at SUWS of the Carolinas.

  • These restrictions have been implemented in compliance with updated corporate and state regulations to further reduce the risks associated with COVID-19.
  • Options for telehealth visitation are continuously evaluated so that our patients can remain connected to their loved ones.
  • Alternate methods of communication for other services may be offered when deemed clinically appropriate.

For specific information regarding these changes and limitations, please contact us directly.

CDC updates are consistently monitored to ensure that all guidance followed is based on the latest information released.

  • All staff receives ongoing infection prevention and control training.
  • Thorough disinfection and hygiene guidance is provided.
  • Patient care supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer are monitored and utilized.
  • Temperature and symptom screening protocols are in place for all patients and staff.
  • Social distancing strategies have been implemented to ensure that patients and staff maintain proper distance from one another at all times.
  • Cleaning service contracts have been reviewed for additional support.
  • Personal protective equipment items are routinely checked to ensure proper and secure storage.
  • CDC informational posters are on display to provide important reminders on proper infection prevention procedures.

The safety of our patients, their families, and our employees is our top priority, and we will remain steadfast in our efforts to reduce any risk associated with COVID-19.

The CDC has provided a list of easy tips that can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then immediately dispose of the tissue.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

For detailed information on COVID-19, please visit


We remain open and are continuing to accept new admissions.

SUWS of the Carolinas remains committed to providing clinically superior services within a safe and supportive environment while taking all appropriate precautions to protect the well-being of our students and staff.

For admissions information, or to learn more about the heightened preventive measures we have put in place, please click the link at the top of this page or call us at (828) 489-3198.

Unplugging at SUWS

From gaming addiction to simply spending too much time viewing screens, it is becoming clear that all of us, especially teens, are becoming overly immersed in technology. Research shows that the consequences of tech overload can include deficits in the development of fine motor skills, significant sleep disturbance, delayed social skill development, and exposure to highly toxic online “relationships” (think cyberbullying and premature sexualization).

All too often, people turn to technology in an attempt to soothe symptoms of depression, anxiety, ADHD, and other internal struggles. In such cases, the individual may experience immediate temporary relief – but the underlying problem may only become worse.

At its worst, the overuse of technology can become an addiction. The World Health Organization (WHO) now has a classification for “gaming disorder.” As we develop a better understanding of how tech use can be a process addiction, a similar diagnosis may someday be included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

It is difficult to imagine our world without computers and other forms of interactive technology. But the ways that we use these devices may be putting our children’s health at risk. For example:

  • With best intentions, we put devices in the hands of infants and toddlers to keep them occupied, believing that we are giving them a head start in a world where tech is ubiquitous. Unfortunately, researchers have discovered that when children are focused on a screen instead of attempting to interact with the solid world around them, they may lose the opportunity to develop fine motor skills.
  • We encourage children and teens to get a head start in a competitive world by learning as much as possible, as early as possible, about computers. Yet, studies show overwhelmingly that this does not actually result in later-life advantages.
  • We believe that it is safer for a teen to be sitting on the couch playing video games than to be out of the house, outside our supervision, in an increasingly dangerous world. But teens may be at greater risk in the virtual world than they are when they’re out exploring the real one.

Once the “screen beast” is out of its cage, what are we to do?

It is nearly impossible to completely eliminate technology from our lives. But we are seeing great benefits from “tech fasting” (taking periods of time away from tech) as a way to reset the nervous system. Tech fasting can also help us become aware of how dependent we have become on staring at screens, getting updated on social media, and relying on devices to cope with stress and loneliness.

We are also making strides in treating tech overuse in ways that bring about a new and healthier relationship with this “beast” so that it can be tamed into a useful tool.

Some good news from our experience at SUWS: While the vast majority of our students describe significant overuse of technology, most of them don’t struggle much with its absence in the woods. We do occasionally see students who experience withdrawal symptoms such as cravings and urges, mood swings, irritability, feelings of apathy, headaches, and lethargy. But most of our students don’t have these problems.

Of course, the not-so-great news is that a return to overuse is almost guaranteed without a plan to curb it. That is where awareness and a solid home agreement can help continue the momentum toward a healthier relationship with tech. We are talking about this with students while they’re in our care. It is important for that conversation to continue when they leave.

If you are a parent whose child rages at the interruption of a Fortnite session, stares at a screen rather than noticing the face in front of them, has few in-person friends but hundreds of virtual friends, or cannot fathom a dead cellphone battery, a wilderness experience may be the best opportunity for your child to reset and re-engage.

And while they reconnect, we – parents and SUWS staff members – can examine our own relationship with tech.

Perhaps we could all benefit from more walks in the woods.



Kardaras, N. (2016). Glow Kids: How Screen Addiction Is Hijacking Our Kids – and How to Break the Trance.


SUWS of the Carolinas offers wilderness programs for adolescents who are struggling with various challenges, including mental health concerns, substance use, behavioral issues, and autism spectrum disorder. Our expert staff provides developmentally appropriate care to young people in a safe, therapeutic environment. We accept private pay only, but our staff can help develop a detailed financial plan for your family to ensure your child gets the care they need so that they can successfully return to their school and community. 

About Daniel Fishburn, LCSW, LCAS, MAC, CCS, Executive Director/CEO

Daniel Fishburn has been helping young people “find their way” in a variety of settings for 30 years, including close to 20 years as a licensed clinician.  He received his BA in Psychology at The Catholic University of American in Washington DC., and his MSW from the University of Houston Graduate School of Social Work.  From the war zones of El Salvador to the streets of Dallas and Houston, Daniel has served families through numerous organizations such as Child Protective Services, public health agencies, community mental health, adolescent and adult substance abuse treatment, young adult transitional programs, and most recently at a therapeutic boarding school.  From the frontline staff to leadership, Daniel is highly experienced in working at the organizational level to create powerful, positive change.

In Daniel’s personal life, he is committed to mindfulness science and practice, nature adventure, and volunteer service in the Asheville community. He is involved nationally in the Recovery Dharma movement and engages in education/advocacy for LGBTIQ youth.

View all posts by Daniel Fishburn, LCSW, LCAS, MAC, CCS

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