Depression has spiked since the pandemic began and teenagers are among the most affected. Many teens have seen specialists to help treat their mental health, but many others may not have the resources or the desire to see a therapist. Luckily, there’s a variety of resources available to help teens who are struggling with depression. Here are 10 resources to help support those teens who are going through tough times right now.
1. Erika’s Lighthouse
Erika’s Lighthouse was started by a couple who lost their daughter, Erika, to depression. It’s funded by individual donations and charity events and run by volunteers. They have programs catered to grades K-12, and they offer online lesson plans, videos, assessments, and a variety of activities. Teens can create their own clubs, receive up to $250 in grant money, and be guided through various “Awareness into Action” activities to help empower them and promote positivity. There are also resources for family members and faculty to help support the teens.
Source: Erika’s Lighthouse/Youtube
2. The Heard Alliance
The Heard Alliance is based out of the San Francisco Bay Area and is composed of professionals working in the mental health and healthcare industries. They offer resources for families, youth, educators, and health care professionals. They have a downloadable toolkit that promotes mental health, gives protocols for the intervention of suicide, and assists in dealing with suicide in the community. They also offer crisis hotlines and make it easy for you to find local mental health resources.
3. Go Ask Alice
Go Ask Alice is a website run by healthcare professionals, writers, and a research team from Columbia University. They have a Q&A section on their website where it shows a wide variety of specific mental health questions and answers organized by the week. If you don’t see something on there for you, you can submit your own question, which may be useful to someone else. They also offer quizzes on nutrition and exercise and a newsletter that will deliver all the recent Q&As to your inbox.
4. Teen Counseling
Teen Counseling is an app where you’re connected with a therapist and can text them anytime or schedule a phone or video call. You’ll need a parent to fill out a consent form initially, but after that, it’s just you and your therapist. The drawbacks are that it’s not free, and the therapists can’t prescribe medication.
The National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) offers a variety of resources for teens dealing with depression. It provides resources that guide you on when to ask for help, how to ask for it, how to talk with your friends and parents, and how to navigate social media and school with depression. It also has video resources, online discussion groups, and a helpline to find resources in your local area.
6. The Youth Mental Health Project
The Youth Mental Health Project is a nonprofit organization that seeks to destigmatize mental health issues and empower individuals. They offer downloadable resource sheets on everything from sleep, loneliness, depression, peer pressure, self-care, and self-esteem. They also explain various therapies, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, play therapy, and many others. Finally, they have two films about children’s mental health that you can watch privately or host a screening.
7. Mental Health Literacy
Mental Health Literacy is the place to go if you’re looking to learn as much as you can about your depression and what you can do about it. The site is packed with videos, pdfs, e-books, animations, and online training programs about mental health backed by science and continuously improved upon. They even tweak their materials after getting input from their audiences.
8. The JED Foundation
The JED Foundation is an easy-to-navigate website that partners with high schools and colleges to bolster their various mental health programs. They have partnered with MTV to create mental health storytelling campaigns designed to help teens feel less alone and take action to improve their lives. Other programs they offer are Set to Go, which helps high schoolers navigate the potentially stressful transition to college, and JED High School, an 18 to 24-month program that schools can implement to support students’ mental health.
9. Headspace For Teens
Headspace is a popular app to help people meditate, sleep better, and feel less stressed. Last year, they announced their “Headspace For Teens” initiative to give teens from 13 to 18 free access to the app. To get access, they must register to become a member of the nonprofit’s Peer Health Exchange or Bring Change 2 Mind. The site also has various articles on things like mindfulness, being grateful, and how to form habits.
10. The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project is a nonprofit which seeks to prevent suicide among LGBTQ youth. They offer a toll-free number with trained counselors, guides on how to have intersectional conversations, and facts about suicide among LGBTQ youth. They also have a large community of members you can chat with, get advice from, etc.
When you’re going through tough times it’s important to know you’re not alone and that there are people out there who care for you. Hopefully, these resources help provide that service, as well as some insights into what is making you feel depressed, and what can be done about it.
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