stocksnap_67e8cef0f5Tommy, a 17 year old male, had been in and out of Department of Children Services and Juvenile Justice Services since the age of 15. While being held in detention, Tommy was referred to Connections: In-Home Family Preservation (Connections). Connections is a program of the Helen Ross McNabb Center that provides crisis intervention and family preservation through flexible, family focused in-home services designed to address the problems of at-risk children and families in Knox County. Connections provided Tommy with a master’s level counselor who conducted a Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths assessment. It was determined that Tommy was experiencing severe mental health issues. These mental health issues included both auditory and visual hallucinations and suicidal ideation. Tommy was referred to individual counseling and psychiatric medication management at Connections.

Tommy met with the Connections therapist three times per week for three months and took his medication as prescribed. Tommy began to make improvements. Because of the treatment and therapy, Tommy’s auditory and visual hallucinations stopped and he was no longer experiencing suicidal thoughts.

Since his time at Connections, Tommy has been released back in to the community and has been compliant with all of his mental health services. Tommy has recently obtained a full time job at a restaurant and has plans of attending a local community college. He has had no further issues with the Juvenile Justice System and is working very hard to stay out of trouble. The Connections program has had a major impact on Tommy and his mental health and has decreased the need for further juvenile justice services.

Without programs like Connections: In-Home Family Preservation, Tommy may not have received the treatment necessary to combat his mental health issues. That’s why United Way partners with agencies like Helen Ross McNabb – because we know that change doesn’t happen alone. To live better, we must Live United.

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