TeenHelp has four primary ways by which you can get advice on our site. Each is slightly different and has its own benefits and limitations. Below you can find information about each of our methods of advice and a quick comparison table to help you decide which one is most suited to you (you can use as many of them as you would like to).
Reaching out can be difficult, and some people struggle with when to ask for help and how to go about doing so. The following will discuss when and how to reach out, as well as the benefits of asking for help.
You should ask for help when you're ready. There is no rush, take your time and only share what you want to when you feel ready to.
You should ask for help when you feel as though what you are going through is taking up a lot of your thoughts, or decreasing your quality of day-to-day life. You should seek help immediately if you feel you are a danger to yourself or others. If you are in a crisis now, look at the 'Currently in crisis' section of TeenHelp's Safety Zone (click here).
Choose someone you trust to reach out to. It is very important to choose someone you trust to confide in, as it is likely you are planning to share deeply personal information. If you want to build up trust with someone while working on easing your anxiety about confiding in someone, try slowly introducing small topics before you get into the larger one you'd like to discuss.
Consider how you would like to tell someone. While some people are comfortable with verbally sharing information, others are not.
You can write a note; this allows you to process your thoughts and think about what you want to say.
You can use the note in your conversation, or you can give the note in its entirety to the person you want to confide in.
If you want to talk to someone verbally, plan a time to have a conversation. You can ask them to find a time to talk, so they will remember and bring it up later, or you can bring it up yourself.
You can also speak to someone in a public place if you are nervous about their reaction.
If you do not feel as though you have anyone in your life to reach out to, or if you have reached out and would like to talk to your peers, try some of TeenHelp's features. You can use the Support Forums, Chat Room, HelpLINK, Live Help, or the Blogs for instance.
Reaching out allows you to lift some weight off of your shoulders. You do not have to do this alone; sharing with someone can be a healthy emotional release. You may also find that you can relate to some people, and being open about what you're experiencing allows you to work on getting through it, whether you speak to a professional or use self-help techniques.
Find out more about how you can reach out below.
Who can help me? Lots of people are out there. Click here for ideas!
If you’re having a difficult time, there are many people you can go to for help. It is important to remember that you should not and do not have to struggle alone. If one suggestion isn't an option for you, please consider seeking out someone else.
People in your home or family:
Parent(s)/Guardian(s): While it may be difficult to tell your parents, and it may be difficult for them to hear, telling a parent or guardian about what is going on is always an option. Read this article to learn about spending time with your family.
Other family members: If you can't bring yourself to tell your parent(s), you may want to consider telling a trusted family member that you are struggling. This person could then help you to get the help you need. This may be a sibling, aunt or uncle, grandparent, or even a more distant family member.
Family friends: Sometimes family friends are just as close as family; they're relatives, just not by blood. If you are most comfortable telling a family friend about your troubles, they are a very good option.
People in your school:
Teachers: Believe it or not, a favorite teacher is a wonderful person to confide in. If they didn't care about people they wouldn't be teachers!
Principals: A principal/dean/headmaster, or whatever your school calls it, is a person you can go to about anything.
Guidance counselors: Many counselors in schools are trained in helping with crisis situations, such as suicide, bullying, or abuse.
School clinic workers/nurses: People who work in your school's clinic, or your school nurse, are well equipped to help you to get appropriate care and help for suicidal thoughts or other crisis situations. These two articles may help with starting a new school or coping with stress while in school.
Coaches/Extracurricular sponsors: Your coach or the sponsor of a student club, or any other extracurricular activity, may be a mentor to you. If you are comfortable talking to them, you can go to them when you are having a hard time.
Doctors and other professionals:
Social Workers, Counselors, or Psychologists: Mental health workers, including Licensed Clinical Social Workers, are all options when you're having a rough patch. If there is a mental health professional you feel comfortable speaking with then you can go to them. Read this article to learn about how to find a therapist.
Medical doctors: For some people, medical doctors and nurses are not the choices but these health professionals are able to help you in your time of need. This article discusses communicating with your doctor.
Emergency workers: Emergency workers include Emergency Room staff, EMTs, Paramedics, and more. Emergency medical workers are available to help you when you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or other life crisis.
Police officers: Police officers aren't only trained to handle "bad guys," they also are able to help people in crisis situations, including suicide. If there is a police officer you know, you can tell them, but dialing an emergency line is an option, as well.
Religious leaders: Religious leaders (pastors, rabbis, youth leaders, and more) are all available to you, when you are in need.
It is important to remember that many of the people mentioned here such as doctors and people at your school are considered mandated reporters. This means that they have a duty to ensure your safety. Some of the things that they would be mandated to report would be if you have plans, means and a time frame to complete suicide, have plans, means and a time frame to harm others or if you were being harmed by a parent or guardian. If they did report the conversation, it would not be because you are in trouble but because they want to ensure that you and others are safe. If you are worried that someone you might choose to talk to would have to report the conversation you could begin the conversation with any of the following such as stating "I know someone who..." It is important to let them know that you are struggling but starting out with hypothetical questions can make the process easier. Some of these people can help you if you reach out to them. If you have a bad experience with someone, please don't let that stop you from reaching out as there are some great people out there who would love to try help you get through your struggles; unfortunately it can take time to find the right person.
Whether you go to your parents or a stranger, it is important to reach out for help in this difficult time in your life. Don't go it alone; tell someone.