Resources for Teens | Mental Health, Bullying, and More…

What is mental health?

Mental health is the condition referring to someone’s emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It is not only important in adults but also in children and teenagers. Good mental health can have positive effects on our life. It can help improve our mood and reduce anxiety. It can help us think more clearly and increase our self-esteem.

It is estimated that 49.6% of young people have had a mental health disorder at some point in their lives, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Some of the factors that can affect someone’s mental health include:

  • Trauma and abuse
  • Bullying
  • Drug and alcohol use
  • Stress
  • Environmental factors, like home life or school

In the more recent years, the COVID-19 pandemic has played a major role in an increase of mental health problems in teenagers. From loss of a family member to facing more abuse, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 37.1% of U.S. high school students had poor mental health during the pandemic.

So how can the following affect a teen’s mental health?

BULLYING

Bullying can be defined as someone seeking to harm or intimidate another person they perceive to be weaker. There is physical, verbal, social, and cyber bullying.

Physical bullying is where the victim is physically hurt. They may push, trip, or even damage property.

Verbal bullying is where the victim is name called, teased, or intimidated. This can include racist or discriminatory remarks.

Social bullying is where one or more peers spread rumors about the victim, play jokes or pranks that end in humiliation, or even have the victim socially excluded.

Lastly, there is cyber bullying. Over the years, cyber bullying as increased as the use of the Internet has grown. With all students online during the pandemic, cyber bullying escalated. Whether it is in public or private, it is when the victim receives abusive or harms messages, or has rude rumors spread about them.

In youth that are bullied, they can experience:

  • Low self esteem
  • Depression, social anxiety, and loneliness
  • Self harm thoughts and attempts

No matter the situation, if you see someone getting bullied, please help them out by reaching out to them and informing an adult.

SUBSTANCE ABUSE

Substance abuse refers to when people use drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and more with unsafe measures. The continued use of these substances leads to addiction. Addiction has awful consequences for teenagers. When youth are addicted to substances, there can be problems in the teenager’s physical and mental health as well as their academics.

VAPING

Vaping is the most common form of nicotine consumed by teenagers. Vaping devices contains nicotine, the flavors, and the other harmful chemicals. The nicotine enters the body bloodstream from the lungs. The nicotine is able to stimulate the adrenal glands to release epinephrine. The release of epinephrine increases the blood pressure, breathing, and heart rate. The nicotine also activates dopamine, which makes your body want more.

The brain does not stop developing until you are around 25 years old. So when a teenager vapes, the nicotine has some serious effects on the brain. It can impact the impulse control and have permanent damage on the brain. This can result in memory, emotion and critical thinking problems.

The mental health effects of vaping include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Increased risk of developing a psychotic disorder, like schizophrenia
  • More likely to struggle with an eating disorder

If you know someone that vapes, try your best to get them help.

MARIJUANA

Marijuana has many names, like cannabis, and can come in many different forms. It contains Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a chemical that moves through the bloodstream to the brain.

In high doses, it can have dangerous effects on a teenagers developing brain. It mainly impacts the areas of the brain that are responsible for memory, learning, attention, decision making, coordination, emotions, and reaction time.

It can also have serious effects on the heart. Just like vaping, the blood pressure is increased and so is the heartbeat. This puts the teenager at an increased risk of strokes, heart disease, and many more heart problems.

The effects of marijuana on mental health include:

  • High risk of developing mental health issues, like schizophrenia
  • Anxiety, panic or paranoia is more intense
  • Loss of concentration and motivation
  • Less energy

If someone you know currently uses or is trying to use marijuana, do not hesitate to reach out to help them stop.

Resources for both teens and parents

EMERGENCIES RESOURCES
911

If you need immediate help or there is an emergency, call 911. This would be for anything that would require the police, the fire department, or an ambulance. Call 911 if you have harmed yourself or if someone you know has harmed themself. You should also call when you know or think someone is planning on harming themself or another person.

211

Call or text 211 if there are any non life threatening emergencies that you need help with. Call when you need any help with mental health or substance use problems. They will provide any useful resources for you to use, like substance use programs.

MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES
SAMHSA’s National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

Call SAMHSA when you, a family member, or a friend are facing a mental health issue or a substance use problem. The lines are open 24/7, all year. They offer both English and Spanish. All calls are confidential and free. They will not ask for personal information. They can help refer you to local treatment facilities, support groups, community-based organizations, etc.

NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness: 1-800-950-6264 or text Helpline to 6240

NAMI offers support on mental health. This includes support groups and the NAMI helpline. NAMI also offers education on mental health. This includes free programs that provide skills and support, publications and reports on mental health, podcasts, and webinars. NAMI also is a great way for youth to get involved. You can volunteer with NAMI to help other people by participating in fundraising events, attend conventions, and help raise awareness by sharing your story.

Teen Line: 800-852-8336

You can use Teen Line by either calling, texting, or emailing. Another teenager will answer you call or message to hear and help you out. You can also get involved with Teen Line to help other teenagers. You can donate to support them. You can even be a volunteer and respond to incoming calls/texts/emails from teens that need help.

Crisis Support Services: 800-273-8255

Contact Crisis Support Services if you need help with depression or substance use. Also call if you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, domestic violence, or child abuse. You can call, text, or chat for free, confidential services. Crisis Support Services are open 24/7, all year long.

BULLYING RESOURCES
911

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger or there is crime involved, call 911. Also call if you notice something dangerous is about to occur.

988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: call 988

Call 988 if you or someone you know needs support or help when dealing with bullying. Formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, created by SAMHSA to help those who need immediate attention and help. This hotline is open 24/7 across the US. If you or someone you know is struggling, do not hesitate to call 988. This is not just for suicide prevention, so you can also call if need help with anything related to mental health. You can get involved by volunteering and helping someone out on call. You can also share your story and donate.

Teen Line: 800-852-8336

A great resource if you or someone you know is a victim of bullying. You can use Teen Line by either calling, texting, or emailing. Another teenager will answer you call or message to hear and help you out. You can also get involved with Teen Line to help other teenagers. You can donate to support them. You can even be a volunteer and respond to incoming calls/texts/emails from teens that need help.

Crisis Support Services: 800-273-8255

Another great resource for you to use if you or someone you know is a victim of bullying. Contact Crisis Support Services if you need help with depression or substance use. Also call if you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, domestic violence, or child abuse. You can call, text, or chat for free, confidential services. Crisis Support Services are open 24/7, all year long.

SUBSTANCE USE RESOURCES
SAMHSA’s National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

A great resource to contact if you or someone you know struggles with substance use and addiction problems. Call SAMHSA when you, a family member, or a friend are facing a mental health issue or a substance use problem. The lines are open 24/7, all year. They offer both English and Spanish. All calls are confidential and free. They will not ask for personal information. They can help refer you to local treatment facilities, support groups, community-based organizations, etc.

Partnership to end addiction

Partnership to End Addiction aims to help youth substance use and addiction. Anyone can contact this helpline, including parents, other family members, etc. Support is available in both English and Spanish. Text 55753 to contact a specialist within 24 hours. You can also schedule an appointment have a call with a specialist or fill out a short form to get in touch through email. Specialists are not available 24/7. They are available Monday-Friday, 10am-8pm ET, and Saturday-Sunday, 12pm-5pm ET.

SUICIDE PREVENTION/SELF HARM RESOURCES

988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: call 988

Formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, created by SAMHSA to help those who need immediate attention and help. This hotline is open 24/7 across the US. If you or someone you know is struggling, do not hesitate to call 988. This is not just for suicide prevention, so you can also call if need help with anything related to mental health. You can get involved by volunteering and helping someone out on call. You can also share your story and donate.

Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741

You can text this hotline when you aren’t able to call. This can be done through text, Whatsapp, or through chat. This also offers international support. The Crisis Text Line can help with gun violence, any eating disorders, anxiety, depression, suicide, and self harm. You can get involved to help others out by volunteering, you can donate, and even share this text line with family and friends.

S.A.F.E. Alternatives: 800-DONT CUT (800-366-8288)

S.A.F.E. Alternatives is nationally recognized for the treatment they provide for self harm. They can help both teenagers and parents. S.A.F.E. provides individual or even family therapy. They also offer weekly group psychotherapy and family education.

MORE RESOURCES FOR TEENS

Teen Line: 800-852-8336

Contact Teen Line if you or someone you know needs help or support in another area. You can use Teen Line by either calling, texting, or emailing. Another teenager will answer you call or message to hear and help you out. You can also get involved with Teen Line to help other teenagers. You can donate to support them. You can even be a volunteer and respond to incoming calls/texts/emails from teens that need help.

Boys Town Crisis Hotline: 800-448-3000 or text VOICE to 20121

This hotline is open 24/7, all year, with staff specially trained to help you. There are Spanish speaking counselors, along with translation services for 100 plus languages. Both teenagers and parents can use this resource. They provide the needed help and support when needed as well as resources for both parents and youth. You can also help support Boys Town by donating and becoming a corporate sponsor.

Thursday’s Child National Helpline: 800-USA-KIDS (800-872-5437)

This hotline is open 24/7, all year. They are able to help you or someone you know in a lot of different ways. If you struggle with any eating disorders, stress, anxiety, or bullying, contact the helpline. If you or someone you know have been a victim of any abuse, currently abuse drugs/alcohol, or have made or plan on making any suicide attempts, contact Thursday’s Child immediately. You can check out their website if they are able to help you out in any other way.

National Runaway Safeline: 800-RUNAWAY (800-786-2929)

This hotline is open 24/7 and you are able to call, text, or email if you or someone you know needs help. Contact them if you or someone you know suffers from abuse, suicidal thoughts, or just need someone to talk to. If you want to help out, you get get involved by becoming a crisis services volunteer, a member of the youth advisory board, or the associate board. You can also support them by donating and attending the events

Works Cited

“About Mental Health.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 Apr. 2023, www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/learn/index.htm.

“Adverse Childhood Experiences during the COVID-19 Pandemic and Associations with Poor Mental Health and Suicidal Behaviors among High School Students – Adolescent Behaviors and Experiences Survey, United States, January–June 2021.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 13 Oct. 2022, www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/71/wr/mm7141a2.htm.

Bisma Anwar, LMHC. “Why Is Mental Health Important?” Talkspace, 20 Apr. 2023, www.talkspace.com/blog/why-is-mental-health-important/.

Consequences of Youth Substance Abuse, ojjdp.ojp.gov/sites/g/files/xyckuh176/files/pubs/drugid/ration-03.html. Accessed 18 May 2023.

“Dangers of Bullying.” PREVNet, www.prevnet.ca/bullying/dangers. Accessed 18 May 2023.

“Directory of International Mental Health Helplines.” HelpGuide.Org, www.helpguide.org/find-help.htm. Accessed 18 May 2023.

“Drugs, Alcohol & Mental Health.” How Do Drugs and Alcohol Affect Mental Health?, www.rethink.org/advice-and-information/about-mental-illness/learn-more-about-conditions/drugs-alcohol-and-mental-health/. Accessed 18 May 2023.

“Kids’ Mental Health Is in Crisis. Here’s What Psychologists Are Doing to Help.” Monitor on Psychology, www.apa.org/monitor/2023/01/trends-improving-youth-mental-health. Accessed 18 May 2023.

“The Link between Vaping and Mental Health.” Newport Institute, 24 Apr. 2023, www.newportinstitute.com/resources/co-occurring-disorders/vaping-and-mental-health/.

“Mental Health for Adolescents.” HHS Office of Population Affairs, opa.hhs.gov/adolescent-health/mental-health-adolescents. Accessed 18 May 2023.

“Mental Health.” CMHA Ontario, ontario.cmha.ca/addiction-and-substance-use-and-addiction. Accessed 18 May 2023.

“Quick Facts on the Risks of E-Cigarettes for Kids, Teens, and Young Adults.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3 Feb. 2020, www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/Quick-Facts-on-the-Risks-of-E-cigarettes-for-Kids-Teens-and-Young-Adults_1.html.

“Types of Bullying: National Centre Against Bullying.” NCAB, www.ncab.org.au/bullying-advice/bullying-for-parents/types-of-bullying/. Accessed 18 May 2023.

“Vaping Devices (Electronic Cigarettes) DrugFacts.” National Institutes of Health, 12 Jan. 2023, nida.nih.gov/publications/drugfacts/vaping-devices-electronic-cigarettes.

“What Causes Mental Health Problems?” Mind, www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/mental-health-problems-introduction/causes/. Accessed 18 May 2023.

“What Does Vaping Do to You? The Mental Side Effects of Vaping.” Change to Chill, 1 Nov. 2022, www.changetochill.org/mental-health-vaping/.

“What Is Cannabis & the Effects on Mental Health.” Headspace, headspace.org.au/explore-topics/for-young-people/cannabis-effects-on-mental-health/. Accessed 18 May 2023.

“What We Know about Marijuana.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 9 Sept. 2021, www.cdc.gov/marijuana/what-we-know.html.

“Which to Call: 211 vs. 988 vs. 911.” United Way of the Plains, unitedwayplains.org/which-to-call-211-vs-988-vs-911/. Accessed 18 May 2023.

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