There is a good reason why support groups and group therapy has been so successful over the ages. It’s primarily because when people can connect with others who share the same problems or concerns in life, they feel more confident in facing those challenges. For instance, a teen who experiences symptoms of depression might find it very useful to connect with other teens who experience depression too.
When you can connect with others about a particular issue, you can hear another person’s struggle, their feelings about it, and how they cope. It can offer you hope, resilience, and confidence. Sometimes, it’s helpful to hear someone express the feelings and thoughts that you’ve always wanted to say but couldn’t. And most importantly, you don’t feel alone. You might feel as though if that person can make it through this challenge, then so can I.
There are all sorts of issues that groups of teens can discuss. These include:
- divorce of parents
- eating disorders
- bipolar disorder
- self harm
- balancing school, home, and social responsibilities
- suicidal thoughts/attempts
These are just a handful of issues that teens can connect about. Below is a list of online resources that can immediately connect you with other adolescents on the issues you may be facing.
TeenSource is a local resource for California teens. Although teens from anywhere in the country can access this resource, the site is administered by the California Family Health Council. It provides information on healthy and responsible sexual lifestyles. The site also a YouTube Channel with testimonials by teens and celebrities about their thoughts on pregnancy, sexuality, and life goals.
It Gets Better.Org is a national resource for gay, bisexual, and transgendered teens. There teen can find videos of other youth with encouraging messages about making it through the difficult teen years, especially when faced with harassment and bullying because of their sexual orientation. The project has over 10,000 user-created videos.
Hookup is a resource for teens living in California. It’s a text-messaging service that provides basic facts about reproductive health and relationships. It also provides referrals to youth-oriented medical services throughout the state. Teens can text “hookup” to a phone number provided and receive weekly health messages.
Strength of Us or StrengthofUs, a social networking community for young adults. Those who visit the site can network and join a community where they can access support through discussion groups, blog entries, videos, photos, and more. “StrengthofUs is an online community designed to empower young adults.” This statement is highlighted on the home page, making clear its purpose and the passion behind it.
A Safe Place is an organization striving to provide safety and caring adults for teens who are in need of both. Teens can text the organization if they are in danger; they can go directly to a location to seek help; or they can call if they are in need of help. Their website is also a source of information so that teens can get information they need on subjects perhaps not discussed at school or at home. Furthermore, their site encourages teens to talk to an adult they trust.
In addition to the above, there are many other sites that can immediately connect you with other on the issues that matter to you. And if you want to connect with teens locally, talk to your school therapist, teacher, or parent to help find a support group that discusses the concern you’re facing.