The bald spots dotting Joelle’s* head were an outward sign of her inner turmoil. Sixteen-year-old Joelle was so wracked with anxiety, she’d taken to pulling out her hair by the handful.

Joelle’s mother left Oklahoma to find work; her father was in and out of jail. Joelle moved in with her great aunt, but couldn’t keep up with her schoolwork. Embarrassed and insecure, Joelle didn’t trust or open up to anyone, including her Aunt Rachelle and others who wanted to support her.

At Family & Children’s Services, Joelle worked with a therapist who helped her understand her feelings and set goals. She and her great aunt learned to communicate better, work cooperatively and trust each other.

After several months, Joelle completed therapy. She caught up and began working ahead in school, improved her relationship with Aunt Rachelle and other family members and has a full head of hair.


* name and image changed to protect client’s identity.