Sovereign Health – White River Academy

Sovereign Health - White River Academy Delta Utah

Headquartered in Delta, Utah, White River Academy is an esteemed therapeutic boarding school catering to boys aged 12 to 17. The institution delivers comprehensive treatment for substance abuse and behavioral health issues, while offering a distinctive, reputable, and accredited educational program. The focus is on fostering responsibility and promoting healthy lifestyle choices, allowing troubled boys to develop self-awareness, find their purpose, learn effective ways to manage emotional pain, and cultivate a spirit of service towards others. Through personal growth initiatives and hands-on experiences, including adventure-based outdoor activities, students are challenged to abandon harmful behaviors and embrace principles of integrity and character.


Situated in the mountainous Great Basin region of Utah, Sovereign Health’s White River Academy is an outstanding therapeutic boarding school dedicated to boys aged 12 to 17. This facility offers long-term treatment (a minimum of one year) for individuals grappling with substance abuse and co-occurring mental health disorders. Please note that on-site medically monitored detox services are not available.


White River Academy operates a rolling enrollment system, allowing boys to enter the program throughout the year. However, their parents or guardians must provide a referral. Upon admission, new clients undergo an orientation session, which familiarizes them with the facility’s rules, regulations, and expectations. Additionally, they are introduced to their two assigned student mentors.

The program at White River Academy combines the time-tested principles of the 12-step approach and positive peer culture with evidence-based practices such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). The program maintains a tightly structured weekly schedule that comprises individual and group therapy, a customized academic curriculum, 12-step meetings, community service, recreational activities, equine training, recreational therapy, art therapy, and daily chores.

Family participation holds substantial significance at White River Academy. The program actively encourages family therapy sessions, provides educational opportunities for families, and hosts a comprehensive weekend-long quarterly family program.


White River Academy is officially accredited as an educational institution and possesses approval to teach grades nine through 12 in the state of Utah. The facility’s treatment team consists of therapists holding master’s degrees, a clinical psychologist, and classroom instructors.


White River Academy is located in a repurposed former hospital building and has the capacity to house 36 clients. The clients reside in simple, shared bedrooms. It is mandatory for all students to wear school uniforms. The campus features a school, a rock climbing area, and horseback riding stables.


At present, has received polarized feedback from two parents regarding White River Academy. One parent expressed highly positive sentiments concerning the facility and its staff, stating that their child’s life was saved and praising the doctor and therapy received. This individual would choose White River Academy again if given the chance. Conversely, the other parent, who rated treatment effectiveness, accommodations and amenities, and meals and nutrition with only one out of five stars, offered a strongly negative opinion. They asserted that White River Academy is not worthy of being labeled as a school.

On, White River Academy has thus far earned an average rating of three out of five stars from six reviews. Of these reviews, three are positive, while the remaining three are negative. Two of the positive reviews originate from the same individual, resulting in a total of five unique reviews. The reviews present divergent opinions regarding the quality of the education program and staff. One reviewer commended the accredited status of White River Academy and the structured life students enjoy, while another anonymous reviewer agreed that the teachers at the academy were exceptional.

Conversely, the reviewers expressing negative viewpoints criticized the facility’s academics and depicted the facilities as subpar and the staff as demeaning.


According to the official website, Sovereign Health accepts most private insurance plans, including Aetna, Anthem, and Blue Cross Blue Shield. Financial assistance is available to clients who meet eligibility criteria.

Sovereign Health – White River Academy Reviews

I happen to stumble across the review that was posted and thought that i needed to write one that reflects our experience. I am writing this today as my son will be 4 years sober this weekend and has grown into a wonderful happy adult that has his whole future ahead of him due to the fact that White River saved his life and ours. It is not an easy choice to send your child away - we had ours transported - which is one of the hardest things i ever have done - but on that night we said ENOUGH - he went to White River and in only 7 weeks after we arrived at parents weekend greeted by some of the kindest staff i have ever met. Our son in that short time had a smile on his face and started to look like himself again. White River is not easy on these young men but face it if you are even looking at a theraputic boarding school it is not because your child is being the best he can be but more he is at the worst you would have ever thought. The program is tough - it should be - he learnt how to put others first - how to love himself again- how to have relationships with his family - My son spent 18 months there and it was an incrediable journey. This program works if not only the individual there is working but if the whole family is involved. He did hundreds of hours of community service which forever changed the way he looked at life. We had sad moments and tough moments but you have those with any teenager. The staff was great - our parent liason still holds a special place in my heart - and i can never say enough about the doctor and the therapy our son recieved. Please do not judge this place from the previous review - ask for names of parents to call to speak to them yourself. If i had to do this all over again I would look no further than White River.
  • Treatment Effectiveness
  • Accommodations & Amenities
  • Meals & Nutrition
  • White River Academy does not deserve to be called a school at all. The Web site tells us parents that it is a therapeutic caring place for young boys to become men. $7000 a month is tuition a month. The hand book states that that their hair will be assessed and may get a haircut, however they leave the part out that they will have their head shaved , and this will happen, every 4 weeks. The video's that they email to u as parents are to view. They tell us to ignore our children's cry to be rescued, and to ignore the fact that they feed these growing teenage boys, food that is unhealthy. Parents are a asured, that their teen age boy is being fed healthy, nutritious meals. Well I challenge you to go spend a Saturday at white River Academy. Ask to see the boys beds, and to see the kitchen. Have a meal from the kitchen. The boys beds are roll aways. Theses boys are also hoping they don't have to go to the restroom in the middle of the night. Because they are not allowed to ask to use the restroom until after 1AM. And the staff can and will say no if they fill like it. These growing boys are forced to eat every last slimy bit of food on their plates, 3 times a day. If they don't they are punished. This punishment is sitting in front of a room, that they call a class room, but is more of a group holding cell. On some days the staff makes the boys just sit in the class rooms, all day hours on end, not allowed to talk , not allowed to laugh , make facial expressions, or even pass notes to each other. They sit and some may have a book, others pencil and paper, but no talking. They raise their hand to talk, to use the restroom, and to walk more then 10 feet. They have black lines drawn on the floor in the hall ways about every 10 feet. The boys must stop at the lines, raise there hands and ask permission to walk bye. The staff is not in uniform, they do not have name tags o... I fear fore these boys still in this facility. There are many other programs and bording facilities out their. Don't bring or have your child transfered to White RIVER Academy in Delta Utah. Do your research, visit the facility. Their is no horses, barns, no river, just an old small building they try to call a scool.
    Thank you for posting your concerns. We are sorry to hear about your situation. At Sovereign Health, we offer world-class facilities to best support our patients. Our well-trained and fully staffed kitchen provides a wide variety of meals each day. Our patients are fed based on a dietary-balanced guideline and a dietician-approved program. Our staff is highly trained and understands the best treatment for all patients who are in our care and our academic program is rigorous too. The care and concern we have for the patients is evident each moment while they are attending White River Academy. We are always open to how our facility can improve and welcome your comments. Thank you, Sovereign Health - WRA Disclaimer: Sovereign Health values our patients’ and their families’ privacy. Due to HIPAA compliance, we are unable to address this review with any further specificity.