When teenagers act out, it can often be a sign of underlying mental health issues, trauma, or conflict that is going on in their life. All situations are different and there are many productive and empathetic ways to deal with the situation. However, the most common way is through therapy with a trained professional who can help the teen feel heard and understood as well as give them positive tools to work through their issues. Sadly, every year, more than 50,000 teens are sent away to “Troubled Teen” programs, which are anything but helpful to struggling individuals.

Source: VICE News/YouTube

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Recently, victims of the Troubled Teen industry have been sharing their stories and speaking out. Many described being “kidnapped” by large men, who they later found out were hired by their parents, and brought to one of the facilities without explanation. Some are even handcuffed, tied down, and roughly handled during the trip. Many now suffer from PTSD as a result of the terrifying transport experience. Once they arrive at the facility, the abuse continues. Survivors describe being put in solitary confinement, watched while naked, beaten, forced to reenact traumatic experiences, verbally assaulted, deprived of food and sleep, among many other horrific types of abuse. Multiple individuals have died as a result of the treatment at these programs.

The Troubled Teen Industry markets its facilities to parents with teens who stay out late, don’t complete schoolwork, display signs of mental illness, or participate in activities that parents may not approve of. “Parents are often the victim,” explained Dr. Nicole Bush, an associate professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. “They are desperate to help their child and someone who is supposed to be a professional tells them that this is what they are supposed to do.”

This cruel, abusive, for-profit industry needs to come to an end. It is traumatizing and doesn’t help anyone. Sign this petition to make sure Congress takes action to ban this type of horrific abuse now! Troubled Teen programs need to come to an end.

To continue speaking up, sign these other petitions as well:

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