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Newsletter #32 - User Experience Survey results; preparing for a natural disaster; motivational blogs and pictures.

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Posted November 17th 2012 at 08:30 PM by TeenHelp
Updated November 17th 2012 at 09:15 PM by Rob

Source: Newsletter | Issue 32 | If you would like to receive the full quality HTML version via email please sign up.

TeenHelp Newsletter

TeenHelp Newsletter #32 - November 17th 2012 - http://www.teenhelp.org

Welcome to the TeenHelp Newsletter! Our Newsletter contains a lot of useful information about our current work, including updates to our site and services, work with our partners and affiliates, details of upcoming events, short bits of advice, interesting links and more!


TeenHelp News

TeenHelp regularly makes changes to its site and services. Some of these are large and noticeable, and others are small and much less so, but each one contributes to the positive development of TeenHelp and how our users experience our community. Below are some of the most recent developments.


Preliminary results of the User Experience Survey (November 17th 2012)

In July 2012 TeenHelp conducted a User Experience Survey to canvas the views of TeenHelp's users. We wanted to know why and how people use TeenHelp, what they think we're doing well or less well and what they think we should focus on in improving TeenHelp. We are pleased to be able to release the preliminary analysis of this survey's results, which gives an overview of what we found. Some of the key findings include:
  • Most users enjoy helping others, with our Support Forums being overwhelmingly our most popular service.
  • Users think we provide a good range of features and that information and publications are useful.
  • Users don't feel how we handle complaints is as effective as it could be.
  • We need to put greater emphasis on training and developing our volunteers.
  • Overall the majority of TeenHelp's users are happy with the experience they get from TeenHelp.
See the full results in the following document.



Retrieving and publishing old articles (October 29th 2012)

Over TeenHelp's history our volunteers have written and published many brilliant articles. Unfortunately many of these are not currently accessible to our users. Our Articles Officer has begun going through old archives and retrieving old pieces, updating them and republishing them to give our users access to the widest range of useful resources possible. Keep an eye on the Articles section over the coming months to see all of these new pieces.



New Project Advisors (October 20th 2012)

TeenHelp is pleased to welcome two new Project Advisors, Louise (Gymnophoria) and Sarah (eaty), who are very hard-working and dedicated volunteers. With the additional responsibilities their new positions have given them, both will continue to play an important part in the running of TeenHelp. We wish them all the best in their new roles.



Latest videos (November 17th 2012)

Due to the hard work of our Videos Team, we continue to see many great additions to our Videos section. More videos are being added all the time, so check regularly to see all our favourite picks! Some of our latest additions include:

Problems at home

Living in a difficult environment at home can have affects on all aspects of your life, including school and relationships. This video addresses a range of issues teenagers often face at home, including what to do if your parents are arguing, dealing with money problems and being embarrassed by your family.

How to tell your parents you're pregnant

If you're a young person who has become pregnant, telling your parents might be one of your biggest fears. This video encourages you to ask yourself some questions and then decide what course of action to take, as well as how to raise the issue with your parents.

What to do during and following the hurricane

In light of the recent devastation cause by Hurricane Sandy in the east coast of the USA, this video provides some general tips on how to cope during and following a hurricane.

Children and peer pressure

Peer pressure affects most people at some point during their lives. This video looks at what effect peer pressure can have on young people and how to cope with it. This video looks at peer pressure from the parents' perspective but is helpful in understanding peer pressure better.



Latest articles (November 2nd 2012)

Our team of talented writers bring our users a constant stream of fresh articles to read each month. Articles are being published regularly, so be sure to check regularly to see what we're doing. Some of our latest additions include:

Finding out that you are going to be a father

There can be a lot of mixed feelings when you find out that you are going to be a father. It can be hard to know how to deal with them, where to go for support, and how to talk to the mother. This article covers some tips for dealing with this often difficult situation.

Keeping guinea pigs as pets

There are many reasons why guinea pigs can make great pets, but there are also many things to consider before bringing a ‘piggy’ into your life. This article details how to decide whether a guinea pig is right for you, and also how to take care of one if you decide to get one as a pet.

Do I need a diagnosis?

It can be scary when you first realise your mental health is not at its best. If the problems are severe or persistent enough, you may need to be diagnosed with a mental illness. This article explains some of the pros and cons of being diagnosed, how to know whether or not you need a diagnosis, and who to speak to if you think you do need one.




TeenHelp works with a range of different organisations and websites in order to help and educate young people. Below is a selection of some of them. For a full list of the organisations we work with, please visit our Resources page.



Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) is an organisation based in America and aims to support individuals with depression and bipolar disorder. The website incorporates a support group search facility for those living in the USA, as well as other useful resources to help others worldwide, such as learning about the symptoms, an online support group, and inspirational personal stories. The DBSA website also contains a handy "Wellness Toolbox", which includes plenty of helpful articles and tools such as "Setting Goals for Recovery", "Saying no to Negative Thinking", a wellness workbook and a wellness tracker, and much more. This website is definitely a must see if you are seeking help and recovery for depression and bipolar disorder.



Tips Of The Month

Each month we share small bits of practical advice that you can implement to improve your life or that of others.


How to prepare for a natural disaster

Given the recent horrors caused by Hurricane Sandy on the east coast of America, the Caribbean, and parts of Canada, it is vital that people around the world are aware of steps that can be taken in order to prepare for hurricanes, and other natural disasters.
  • Put together two disaster kits: one for your car, and one for your house. These kits should last about a week. The disaster kit should include blankets, food, water, a first aid kit, radio, money, and extra clothes.
  • Get text alerts sent to your cell phone, and warnings sent to your e-mail. Have a battery powered radio with extra batteries.
  • Devise a plan. Sit down with the people you live with to create a plan in case a natural disaster occurs. Make sure your plan is clear and concise so there is no confusion. Practice this plan multiple times to ensure everyone understands.
  • Buy an emergency medical book. In the event of a natural disaster, it is not always guaranteed that you will have access to a hospital. It is important to know what you can do in case someone is severely injured. It would also be beneficial to take a First Aid course.
  • Have a well-stocked food supply. It is recommended that every family has enough non-perishable food and water to last at least three days. Some non-perishable foods can include dried fruit, cereal, granola, nuts, crackers, canned juices, and peanut butter. Make sure you have enough food for infants and pets.
  • Educate yourself on all the different types of natural disasters that are likely to affect your area. This will help you to know how to better prepare for each disaster.


How to improve your mood

Sometimes we find ourselves in moods where everything annoys us and we snap at anyone who tries to talk to us. Here are some helpful tips that may help you to improve your mood.
  • Engage in activities that make you happy. This can include sports, board games, writing, dancing, taking a shower, or going for a walk, which will distract you from the bad mood you are in by participating in uplifting activities.
  • Take some time out. Find a quiet area where you can be yourself and let out your feelings. Cry, shout, scream, talk out loud about your frustrations or problems. Once you have finished, leave the room, and with it, all your worries and feelings. Remember, dwelling on negative emotions will only make your mood worse.
  • Express yourself in a positive way. Bottling up your emotions can make you feel worse, and lead to an emotional explosion further down the line. Speak to someone about how you feel, rant to friends, write it out in a journal or blog, draw, scribble, doodle, or anything else that will help to express how you feel.
  • Make a list of everything that you are thankful for. Thinking of things that make you happy can sometimes help you realise that everything you are upset about, maybe isn't so bad. Remember, no matter how bad life can seem, there is always something good.
  • Remember to smile. Research shows that when we smile, we eventually begin to feel happier. It can also make others around us feel better, too!


Caring for someone with OCD

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a distressing and debilitating mental health condition. OCD can make family life very difficult, and when someone we care about is suffering, we naturally want to help. Here are some ways that you can care for someone with OCD.
  • Try to learn as much as possible about OCD and how it can be treated by reading books and Internet articles. You may wish to discuss how to help a loved one suffering from OCD with a doctor, as they may be able to provide you with extra tips and coping methods.
  • Keep daily routines as "normal" as possible. Change can make it more stressful for an OCD sufferer.
  • Try not to give in to the sufferer's OCD. Participating in rituals, or accommodating to demands, hinders progress and reinforces that their thinking patterns and behaviours are correct.
  • Talk to your loved one and set limits. For example, if they seek reassurance and repeatedly ask the same questions, tell them that you will only answer their question once. It is also important to know when to "back off" and learn to recognise when the sufferer is having a bad day.
  • Do not chastise or pressure the sufferer to stop performing rituals. Be kind and patient instead, and offer encouragement. Acknowledge improvements, no matter how small, and keep in mind that people overcome obstacles at their own pace.
  • Remember that the sufferer's behaviours are symptoms of OCD and not character flaws.


Interesting Things (on TeenHelp)

A lot of content is posted to TeenHelp every single day, from threads to articles, social groups to albums. But it is difficult for even the most veteran user to keep on top of it all, so we have selected a few items from among the masses that we thought were interesting to draw your attention to.



Who is attempting NaNoWriMo this year?
November is the month in which people from all over the world participate in a novel challenge called NaNoWriMo. Are you participating this year?

What is your biggest obstacle?
What is your biggest hurdle when it comes to recovering from an eating disorder? What can you do to make recovery more achievable? Read what others have to say, as well as share your own struggles and ideas in a caring and supportive environment.

Views on bisexuality
Discussing bisexuality can often present a range of controversial views. Share your views with other users here.



Flowers and sunshine
This user has taken lovely pictures of flowers and sunshine that will brighten up your day. Check out her album, as it is sure to put a smile on your face.



You're a potato
It is important to remember that we are all beautiful in our own unique ways. This user posted a motivational blog to help remind you that you are beautiful.

Note to self
In this blog, a user wrote a motivational letter to herself to make her feel better. Read this blog to become inspired to write your own motivational letter.


Social Groups

The Cancer Club
Have you ever been affected by cancer, be it a close relative, friend or even yourself? If so, join this group where you can gain support, as well as friends going through something similar. The goal of this group is to help each other get through it!

Coffee Lovers
Are you a coffee lover? Do you find that you need to drink coffee daily, or do you simply just like the taste of coffee? This group is for coffee lovers to unite. Join to talk coffee, and meet others just like yourself!


Picture Of The Month

Each month we feature a picture by one of our users. If you would like to see your picture here please contact us by replying to this Newsletter, emailing us at contact@teenhelp.org, or messaging our Newsletter Officer (Halcyon) on the website.

Picture by Illuminate


Upcoming events

Discussion: Achieving positive body image (Saturday November 17th 2012)

Our body image is how we feel about our bodies, and does not depend on our size or shape. Achieving a positive body image can be difficult, but you are not alone. Join this discussion to learn how to resist the social pressures and the media, and to feel comfortable and good about your body.

Discussion: Facing the challenges of growing up (Saturday November 24th 2012)

The transition from childhood, through adolescence and into adulthood can be very testing, as you seek to find greater independence and a balanced lifestyle, while also coping with the developmental, emotional and psychological changes to your mind and body. You are not alone, however. Join this discussion for advice on how to make the transition easier, and to learn from the experiences of others.

Discussion: Learning to make friends (Saturday December 1st 2012)

Friends can be a great source of comfort, warmth and support, and bring fun and enjoyment to our lives. Yet many of us find it difficult to make and keep friends. Join this discussion for advice building strong friendships and reinforcing the friendship that you may already have.

Discussion: Building confidence and self-esteem (Saturday December 8th 2012)

If you have low confidence or self-esteem you may find yourself unable to carry out certain tasks or feeling that you are disliked by others. These feelings might hold you back and stop you from enjoying life to its fullest. Join this discussion to learn techniques to give your self-esteem a boost, and how to work on building confidence for a more fulfilling lifestyle.

Discussion: Living with alternative diets (Saturday December 15th 2012)

If you have a diet that is different to the norm, whether through personal preference or not, you might find yourself struggling in ways that others do not. This discussion will give you a place to discuss challenges with others, gain support or work out ways around problems with your lifestyle. You might benefit from this discussion if you're vegetarian/vegan, have allergies or diabetes, or are from a cultural/religious background that means you need to adapt your diet.

For more information about upcoming Facilitated Chat Room Discussions (FCRDs), and the times that these discussions will take place, please visit our FCRD page.



Donate to TeenHelp

In order to continue providing free services to young people around the world, TeenHelp requires a constant income of voluntary donations to support our regular costs. If you are able to, we ask that you please donate any money you can to us, even if it's only a few dollars.



Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Our Facebook and Twitter pages are a great place to get a lot of high-quality information. We aim to connect you to interesting organisations, volunteering opportunities, events, news stories, pictures, videos, and more!

Facebook: http://www.teenhelp.org/facebook
Twitter: http://www.teenhelp.org/twitter


Editorial team

Newsletter Officer/Editor-in-Chief: Haley (Halcyon)
Assistant Editor: Chess (Celestial.)
Assistant Editor: Lyndsee (City Lights.)
Assistant Editor: Rianna (Sunlight.)

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