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Free counseling for teens at Brandon's House in New Albany

The Evening News and The Tribune - 11/18/2022

Nov. 18—NEW ALBANY — Anxiety, depression and other mental issues are a rising problem for today's youth.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that an estimated 49.5% of adolescents has had a mental health disorder at some point in their life.

Getting help for these teens can be a challenge, but Brandon's House at 1618 Beeler St.New Albany, offers free counseling to teens and their families in Kentuckiana.

Brandon's House, a nonprofit that helps teenagers ages 13-19, was started by Susan Parr when she was completing her Master's Degree in counseling.

"I call it a place to be heard, a place to find hope and a place to be equipped for how to deal with all the things that teens deal with today," said Wade Thaxton, the executive director. "It's a free place, that's what people often don't realize."

Thaxton, the new executive director, has only been in that job for about a month. He wants to make sure that teens in Kentuckiana know that Brandon's House is a safe place for them to be heard.

"One important thing is you hear something is for free and you get less quality, but we have counselors who are either fully licensed or working on that full licensure so they're trained," said Brittani Hoyer, Brandon's House clinical director. "You're not getting the lowest level just because it's free. If they're not fully licensed, they are being supervised by me."

During the therapy sessions, the teens are encouraged to talk with the therapist about their problems. Some common problems are trouble making friends, parents splitting up and online bullying.

The clients are taught coping skills to handle situations that cause them anxiety, stress or any other issues.

"They may not have friendship and school issues forever, but those coping skills can last a lifetime," Hoyer said. "Life happens and stuff comes up and we have to figure out how to navigate that and we want to teach them those skills to be able to navigate that in life."

One of the best ways to help out Brandon's House is by donating to it.

On Nov. 29 through Dec. 6, they are having an online silent auction. They are looking for items to be donated for the auction. All proceeds from the auction will go to the program to help keep it running.

They also have an annual gala called "Starry Night Gala," which will have a fundraiser so Brandon's House can continue to offer their services free. The next gala will be Feb. 24, 2023.

"While kids are more connected today, I think they're further away than than they ever have been," Thaxton said. "We're making everything streamline where you don't have to see, talk or touch a human. That's what our kids are growing up into. And it's not natural and so they gotta understand how to cope and how to deal with that."


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