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What it’s like to be in a youth mental health treatment facility: one woman shares her experience

This is the second in a three-part series investigating North Carolina’s psychiatric residential treatment facilities where children with complex behavioral needs are sent for care.


Ariel Wolf unpacks Newt, her German Wirehaired Pointer, from the back of her car. She trains dogs for competitions and has trained Newt as her service dog. Wolf is diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a connective tissue disorder that affects her skin and joints.

“All the little things that he does, being able to, you know, help me up stairs, being able to help with my balance, picking things up for me,” said Wolfe, 30, on a brisk December morning at Chapel Hill’s Umstead Park. “It helps me have more energy and less pain and I’m able to do more of the things that I want to do because he helps me with the things that I need to do.”

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