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KVC Kentucky

How to Help a Teen With Behavioral or Substance Use Issues


Each day, teens can face struggles ranging from bullying, sadness, guilt, shame and much more in addition to going through biological changes to their moods and behaviors. Though these changes and feelings are common, it can be difficult to determine when to seek professional help. Here are some behavioral issues teens face and how you can help.

Instances When Seeking a Professional Therapist Is Recommended

Acting Withdrawn from Friends and Family

In teens, behavior issues can be the result of experiencing biological changes. This can make communicating with others and socializing more difficult. By speaking with a professional therapist, a teen can begin to develop strategies to overcoming communication issues.

Drug and Alcohol Use

When a teen is going through a hard time, he or she may be tempted to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. These substances can have a very negative impact on brain development when used at an early age, and seeking the help of a professional therapist right away is essential.

Signs of Depression

While it’s completely normal for a teen, or anyone for that matter, to feel sad from time to time, a professional therapist should be sought if a teen has displayed signs of depression for weeks or months. Symptoms of depression can include anger, frequent anxiety, thoughts of suicide, changes in weight or eating habits, and others you can read more in-depth about here. Fortunately, depression is highly treatable for those who seek professional help.

Sudden Poor School Performance

A mental health professional can be instrumental in finding the root cause of a teen’s sudden drop in school performance. Stress from academic pressures or other sources can build up over time and a mental health professional can work to provide a teen with the emotional tools needed to deal with the stress.

Significant Changes in Mood

Moodiness in teens is common. However, if significant changes in mood are starting to be noticed, a therapist will help address the underlying issues and provide treatment. Sudden changes in mood can include aggression, manic energy or other major changes in life habits.

How to Seek Help

Many people associate getting mental or behavioral health support with going to an office. However that’s not KVC Kentucky’s approach. We are a nonprofit organization that provides in-home and community-based behavioral health services and substance use treatment. Instead of requiring you to take time off of work or school and drive to us, our professionals will come to your home and provide support in your environment. Not only is this more convenient and comfortable for you; research shows that behavioral health services provided in the home or community tend to be more effective than those in an office environment.

Parents or other caregivers can contact KVC Kentucky directly to make an appointment for their child or teen. In many cases, insurance covers behavioral health treatment. We also accept referrals from teachers, counselors, physicians, community partners or other organizations. In addition to serving youth, we also serve adults.

There are three ways to request in-home mental and behavioral health support:

  1. Call our office at (859) 254-1035 to make an appointment or refer a patient over the phone.
  2. Download and complete the KVC Treatment Referral Form and email it to us at or fax to (859) 254-2075.
  3. Fill out the form on this page and click submit.  We will contact you within a few hours during normal business hours to retrieve the needed referral info.

After a referral is made, our staff will make contact with the client (or client’s parents) within 24-48 business hours. We will then meet with the family and assist in completing the necessary documents needed to put services in place.

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