Mental health issues are common during adolescence and young adulthood. While some young people feel comfortable in reaching out and receiving help from counselors, others may be reluctant to do so because of stigma related to getting services, myths about teens and mental health or misunderstanding about what happens during treatment.
“Only ‘soft’ people go see shrinks”
“Only white people go see shrinks”
“Only rich people go see shrinks”
“Teenagers don’t have to work or pay bills. What do they have to be depressed about?”
““If you go to see a therapist, they will make you take medicine or lock you up in a mental hospital”
It takes a lot of strength and courage to get the right help. Mental health issues can affect anyone. They do not discriminate by race, gender or income. While adults may have a lot of stress in their lives, teenagers are also dealing with their share of problems, which if they don’t get help, may continue to cause issues when they become adults.
In terms of treatment, many times just talking to the right counselor can help you get a different perspective on life. S/he can provide support and guidance during difficult times. If necessary, they may recommend medication to help with the healing process, but no one will force you to take medications. And, referring someone to a hospital is usually only done when a person is at risk for hurting themselves or others, or if they are having problems with their thoughts– for example, believing that people on the radio or television are talking directly to them and giving them messages.
If there are things going on in your life, but you are not quite ready to talk with a counselor, you may want to get more information first about mental health conditions. And you may want to read about people like you who have been in similar situations. This may help you feel more comfortable in getting the help you need. Check out the websites and hotlines listed below, but remember, while they are helpful, they are NOT substitutes for getting care with a professional counselor.
Go Ask Alice!: Geared at young adults, this question and answer website contains a large database of questions about a variety of concerns surrounding emotional health
Girls Health.Gov: The “Your Feelings” section of this website offers guidance to teenage girls on recognizing a mental health problem, getting help, and talking to parents.
Kelty Mental Health Resource Center: Reference sheets are provided that list top websites, books, videos, toolkits and support for mental health disorders.
Reach Out: This website provides information on specific mental health disorders, as well as resources to help teens make safe plans when feeling suicidal, and helpful tips on how to relax.
Teens Health: Providing a safe place for teens who need honest and accurate information, this website provides resources on mental health issues.
Teen Mental Health: Geared towards teenagers, this website provides learning tools on a variety of mental illnesses, videos, and resources for friends.
Teen Health and Wellness is a website where you can find 24 hour hotlines to talk to someone about your mental health. Please help end the stigma around mental health by recognizing that all of this is ok, where referring to help is part of the normal process.
Ok2Talk is a website where you can read other youth stories and submit your own through the National Alliance on Mental Illness. You can also text for support or call 1-800-273-TALK. In English and spanish
Mindfulness for Teens provides you with ways to destress using breathing and learning to be more present