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Meg Appelgate & Katie McNamara: Talking About the Troubled Teen Industry with Unsilenced

Season #3

 In this episode, we chat with Meg Appelgate and Katherine McNamara of Unsilenced.  Unsilenced is a nonprofit dedicated to lifting the voices of survivors of the troubled teen industry and eradicating the industry altogether. This is incredibly important work for the LGBTQ+ community, as a disproportionate amount of LGBTQ+ youth are in these dangerous organizations. In many instances, this is where our youth experience conversion therapy and live with the consequences.

From Unsilenced - 

Every year, thousands of children are sent against their will – often ripped out of their beds in the middle of the night by strangers – to private facilities to be treated for various mental illnesses, addiction issues and perceived behavioral problems. Many times these programs are labeled as “boot camps,” “behavioral modification schools,” “wilderness therapy,” “secured group homes,” and “conversion therapy.” These programs market themselves to parents, therapists, state and judicial agencies, and insurance companies as providers of therapeutic treatment. Instead of delivering evidence-based treatment, many of these programs deliver a myriad of maltreatment such as physical, verbal, and sexual abuse, isolation, forced hard labor, chemical sedation, sleep and food deprivation, attack therapy, aversion therapy, etc.

Tags for IG, twitter, and Tiktok:  @unsilenced_now Unsilenced Tags for Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Unsilenced.now Unsilenced Website: www.unsilenced.org

Meg is the co-founder and CEO of Unsilenced, a nonprofit organization aiming to stop institutional child abuse within the Troubled Teen Industry (TTI). She is a survivor of 2 TTI programs, where she spent a combined total of 3 1/2 years of her teen years feeling brainwashed and abused.  After graduating college, with a degree in psychology,  completely oblivious to the abuse she had experienced, Meg spent the next 17 years dedicating her life serving on various non-profit boards helping with Board development, recruitment, and fundraising.  It wasn’t until she was well into her non-profit career that she woke up to the abuse and brainwashing that plagued her childhood and the effect it had on her entire adulthood. It was then that she became determined to pair her love of giving back and helping those in need, with her dedication to empowering other survivors of institutional abuse.


Katherine spent over 2.5 years in Provo Canyon School and Casa By The Sea as a teenager. She has been an outspoken vocal advocate speaking out against this industry and advocating for evidence-based community treatment. In her years of advocacy, she’s conducted multiple investigations into active and closed programs, worked with law enforcement on multiple investigations, built one of the largest program maps, and created the largest archive of program data that is currently available online. In 2020, she was featured in Paris Hilton’s documentary, entitled “This Is Paris” where she and her fellow Provo Canyon School classmates discussed their experiences and brought much-needed mainstream attention to the plight of children in these programs.

Outside of her advocacy work, Katherine McNamara is well-known in the cybersecurity field. She is considered a subject matter expert and has published several courses, books, articles, and blogs. She has earned a Bachelors of Science in Information Technology Security, Masters of Science in Information Security and Assurance, and holds over 30 industry certifications including two CCIEs, CISSP, etc.



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