By Pafoua Yang

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Twin Cities counselor who spent the last year helping hundreds of teens and families struggling with mental health is now asking for help from the community.

Jason Clopton, also known as the “teen whisperer,” has the ability to connect with kids when and where their parents cannot. Clopton is not only a mental health professional but he also hosts the Teen Whisperer podcast. The podcast helps teens tackle challenging emotional issues and educate parents about how to reach their troubled children.

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When George Floyd was murdered, Clopton held free virtual town hall meetings for children who were traumatized by what they saw in that video and heard in their communities. Clopton dedicated his time to give community members a safe space so their voices can be heard.

“Mental health, it’s been a topic we overlook in so many different areas, in our community, in our society,” said Clopton.

Amid the rising demand for the teen whisperer and other mental health professionals, Clopton now needs the community more than ever. The counselor was recently diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called T-Cell Leukemia/Lymphoma also known as Acute Leukemia Lymphoblastic (ALL).

Clopton is currently at Mayo Clinic Methodist Hospital getting treatment. He will be in the hospital for at least a month and then discharged to live in Rochester for up to a year.

“It’s rough, it’s life changing. It really is. It’s breaks you down so that you can build yourself back up,” Clopton explained, referring to the chemotherapy.

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Clopton said he’s learning to embrace the good, shut out the bad and focus on his own mental health so he could be better and stronger when he’s out.

“I have to practice what I preach, I preach self-care, I preach taking care of your mental health, prioritizing it, treating it as a value and really understanding your value sin life,” said Clopton.

Battling cancer is only part of the struggle. Clopton admits the financial and emotional hardships on his wife and children have weighed him down. Due to medical bills, travel expenses and lodging, monthly expenses have spiked. His hope is to alleviate some of that burden through a GoFundMe. So far, the community has donated more than $32,000 for Clopton’s wife and kids.

“I want you to know I hear every single message and I love you guys so much. Thank you for all the support, it means the world to me,” said Clopton.

Clopton hopes to eventually do live podcast recordings and invite teens on his show. The counselor also desires to write a book about his experience to help those struggling with similar circumstances.

“It’s a rough ride but a ride worthwhile when you still have so much purpose to live and you feel that and you know that,” said Clopton.

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Clopton’s podcast can be found here.

Pafoua Yang