Female therapist, Whitney Kearney, spends time on a hike in Colorado.

Community Connection: Whitney Kearney and Adolescent Healing

Creating a safe haven for adolescent healing to prevent teen suicide

With over 14 years of therapy experience, Whitney Kearney, LPC, has established herself as a trusted advocate for adolescent mental health, especially among teens at risk for suicide. Since joining Family Care Center in September, Whitney has dedicated herself to the well-being of young individuals, bringing a wealth of expertise and compassion to her work. Her tenure in therapy has equipped her with a profound understanding of the unique challenges adolescents face, and her commitment to serving this vulnerable population shines through in her every interaction.   

 “When working with adolescents, the key is to create a safe space so they can show up in an honest and vulnerable way,” said Whitney. “You also have to set clear expectations about what’s going to be shared and what the line of communication will look like. I spend most of the first three sessions building rapport with my adolescent patients, so they feel comfortable before we delve into more dense content. 

Whitney is known for creativity with her treatment modalities. Games, art projects and imaginative play are often used concurrently with talk therapy. “It’s very important that I am mindful of the client’s goals, not just the parent’s or caregiver’s. I consider myself my patients’ guide, where I can help each individual tap into their internal wisdom and healing. When I am mindful of what the adolescent wants, it allows for engagement, motivation and progress in treatment.” 

Reflecting on her impactful interactions, Whitney recounted a profound experience with an adolescent female at high risk for suicide.  “The patient was raised in a neglectful home and experienced depression and suicidal ideation. She had several inpatient and IOP admissions. She was always bouncing around, but she continued to seek treatment. Seeing that patient’s change and watching her stabilize was powerful. She would come back and visit me, sharing her gratitude and providing updates on her ‘wins,’ such as graduating high school and getting a job. It was heartwarming, and it’s an example of the ‘why’ we do what we do every day.” 

Such stories highlight the immeasurable impact therapy can have on adolescents navigating the complexities of mental health. Suicidal ideation is not uncommon among adolescents, nor is suicide completion. In fact, suicide is the leading cause of death for youth in Colorado. Recent data indicates that within one school year, 1 in 5 Colorado high school students (17%) reported seriously considering suicide. That number is nearly four times higher for LGBTQ+ adolescents. 

Therapists like Whitney Kearney and organizations like Second Wind Fund work tirelessly to provide support and resources to vulnerable youth and their caregivers. 

If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please call or text 988.

Whitney’s Community Connection – The Second Wind Fund

For Whitney, the pursuit of adolescent healing extends far beyond the confines of a therapeutic session. It’s a journey that knows no bounds. She believes in meeting patients where they are and helping them embrace their struggles with empathy and understanding. It’s her purpose. 

That purpose aligns closely with the vision of the Second Wind Fund, an innovative South Denver nonprofit that matches children and youth, ages 19 and younger who are at risk for suicide and do not have the means or adequate insurance for necessary mental health treatment. They help young people in need, often with Medicaid or CHP+, by paying for treatment from licensed providers.  

“I met Second Wind Fund a few years ago when working in a hospital setting,” Whitney shared. “Some of our patients required individual therapists upon discharge, but they were unable to afford it. So, I built a working relationship with Second Wind Fund to connect my patients with trusted providers and care.” 

Through their efforts, Whitney and the Second Wind Fund remain focused on teen mental wellness, Together, they are helping to rewrite the narratives of countless adolescents, guiding them toward resilience and hope. 

Appointments in days, not months

Taking the first step on your mental health journey is easier than you might think.

* Family Care Center is in-network with most major health insurance plans!

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