Finding Help for Troubled Teens

By: Jim Freeman
By: Jim Freeman

Knoxville (WVLT) - We reported Monday what family members told us, Amanda McGhee’s father strongly disapproved of her relationship with her Andrew Mann.

He's told the 21-year-old before.

And police believe the relationship, and the fact that she was pregnant with Mann's child led to the killing.

The big question for parents, where can I turn for help dealing with matters like this and where can teens get help too?

Jim Freeman went in search of those answers.

This weekend's tragic events were far more the exception than the rule, but there are ways to get help before the situation gets desperate.

"If desperate measures are being considered, don't. Stop! Think. Call somebody and talk about it,” says Jo Terry, Director of the Community Coalition on Family Violence.

If you're a teen needing help, help is as close as a phone call away.

"For young people that feel like they have no where else to turn, the runaway shelter is there with trained counselors on duty 24-7. Our 24-hour number is 523-2689,” says Mark Wolf, Program Manager for the Runaway Shelter Program.

Professionals understand that it's not easy to place that call.

"We encourage people to be brave. It takes a lot of courage to make a step and make that call for help,” Terry says.

And it's not any easier for parents.

"It's tough being a parent anytime, anyplace. It's especially tough being a parent to a teenager,” Wolf explains.

It may be equally as tough for a parent to call for help when their teen is troubled. Here are some signs that might clue you in.

"A change in behavior. A change in attitude. A change in sleeping patterns. Isolating themselves a lot,” Wolf explains. "There's also help there for parents who don't know where to go to."

Parents can get help from the runaway shelter, too, also by calling 523-2689.

"We also have a wonderful community resource information on to getting social services and mental health services simply by dialing 211,” says Wolf.

Since teens are so savvy with technology, there's a website just for them, www.knoxteensource.com.

Whatever your situation, whether you're a teen or a parent, the bottom line is.

"It's OK to ask for help,” Wolf says.

Professionals also say your family doctor, a school counselor or minister also offer excellent support.

They stress to make that call, because someone is always there to help.


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