There are a number of organizations that are working towards bettering the lives of adolescents. Some of them include those that provide mental health services, those that are breaking down the stigma of mental illness, and those that are providing a wealth of mental health information for teens who need it.
It’s important that both teens and parents have resources to turn to when they need help. Teens are faced with so many issues regarding relationships, drugs, drinking, abuse, bullying, depression, anxiety and more. To find the support that teens need, it’s essential to have a list of local and national resources.
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. It was developed by health educators based upon the issues that California teens identified. Since it started in 2009, it has acquired over 3,044 subscribers and provides 30% of its subscribers with clinical referral information.
TeenSource is another 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.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the lives of children, teens, and adults with mental illness. Despite the fact that 60 million Americans experience a mental illness, society continues to carry a stigma towards anything that isn’t “normal”. Those who are depressed, anxious, or emotionally unstable are often judged in our society. For that reason, NAMI works to provide the resources that people with mental illnesses need to live healthy lives despite the obstacles they face.
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. A Safe Place encourages teens to text the word SAFE and their address, city, and state to the number 69866. Although there are Safe Place locations throughout the United States, 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.
More Than Sad put out by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is a 26-minute video that teaches the signs and symptoms of depression, encourages teens to seek help for depression from a trusted adult, and demystifies treatment. The program is engaging, based on sound principles, and sensitive to cultural differences. I recommend it highly.
TEAR, Teens Experiencing Abusive Relationships, is an organization founded by teens in 2003 with the mission to prevent dating abuse through education. We work to educate society about the complexities and seriousness of violent dating relationships. TEAR provides educational presentations and has created a Dating Violence Curriculum. Please click the following links for more information about our presentations or our curriculum.
These resources are meant to provide teens and their families with support when they need it.