There are so many places out there that help teenagers in need, no matter what the situation is. I know it sometimes feels like there is no one who could possibly understand your situation, and in a world of single moms and dads and two working parents, it can often feel like you’re all alone, but trust me you’re not. No matter what your problem there is always a place to go or a number to call where someone can talk you through your situation. These places are specifically trained to help teenagers with the problems they face. You should always turn to family, friends, teachers or counselors if you can, but if you feel uncomfortable telling someone you know or someone you have to see every day, contact someone at one of these places and seek the help you need.
1. National Suicide Prevention Hotline
The rate of attempted suicide has gone up in the past several years. The increase in bullying is a contributing factor, but certainly not the only one. If you ever have the urge to hurt yourself in any way, please call the Suicide Prevention Hotline and tell someone about your feelings.They are people there who are specifically trained to help teenagers with the issues they face. It only takes one momentary decision to irrevocably throw your life away. Let them help you get through that moment. I know it doesn’t seem like it, but everything passes and life does get better with time.
2. Pregnancy Help
If you think you might be pregnant and are afraid to talk to someone you know, this helpline is wonderful. They talk to you calmly and allow you to evaluate your situation. They do not shove pro-life or pro-choice propaganda down your throat; they simply inform you of ALL of your choices and help you make up your own mind about what is best for you. They give you the support you need regardless of your choice.
Planned Parenthood, 800-230- 7526, is also a phenomenal resource. I know they have gotten a lot of negative press lately, but they are there for more than abortions. Some people don’t realize the extent of the care they provide. You can get a pregnancy test, the morning after pill, and immense amounts of helpful information. They can help you set up a safe adoption, give you options for terminating the pregnancy or help you establish what you need to support the baby if you choose to raise it. A lot of their care is provided on a sliding fee scale, so most teens wouldn’t have to pay a thing for the test or counseling. Everything is kept confidential and you don’t need a parent with you to be seen.
3. Eating Disorders
If you suffer from an eating disorder, it can really seem like no one understands the way you feel. Everyone telling you you’re beautiful or you’re crazy to think the way you do doesn’t make the thoughts in your head and the way you feel about yourself change. Talk to people who know exactly what you’re suffering from and how to help you. Call the hotline, you’ll feel less alone and can start to get the help you need to change your eating habits.
4. Homeless & Runaways
1-800-448-3000 (Boys Town National Hotline)
Don’t be put off by the name; they help guys and girls alike. If you are homeless or have run away from home and need help or have nowhere to go, they are the people to call. I know this isn’t something that is usually planned so the likelihood of you remembering this number is slim, but just remember this: their number is printed on Godfather’s Pizza boxes. They’re fairly easy to find, so set out in search of one if you ever need the help the hotline can provide you.
5. GLBT National Youth Helpline
If you need to talk to someone about your sexuality, contact the GLBT National Youth Helpline. The operators are all teens or young adults who are armed with a massive amount of information for you regardless of your questions. They can advise you on coming-out, give you information about safe sex and point you in the right direction if you need face-to-face counseling. There is no problem too big or too small, they have a lot of experience handling various issues, so trust that they can help you out.
Cyberbullying is pretty widespread these days and can be far more intense than parents or teachers seem to realize. Former friends post your secrets on Facebook, a rival makes up a rumor and spreads it like a virus through text messages. It never seems to stop, you get it all day long at school, but it doesn’t stop there. The stalking, mocking and criticizing happens all night long via cell phone or social media. It may seem like there is nothing you can do about things people say or do online, but actually, there is. Call the Cyberbullying tipline and report the behavior, even if you don’t know who the person bullying you is. Save text messages, capture screen shots and let the authorities put a stop to it.
Whether you are facing alcohol addiction or the abuse of prescription or illegal drugs, this helpline can give you the advice you need. They can give you several options from simply talking to a peer who experienced the same problems to detox or rehab locations if you are ready to make the step to quit. There are no repercussions to admitting you use illegal substances or drink underage. This is a number to call for help, not judgment.
If you are coping with an issue that you can’t face on your own anymore, call one of the above numbers or Google your specific problem to find a number or location of someone who can help you. No matter what you are dealing with there IS someone who can help you. There is always somewhere you can go or something you can do to make things better. Do you have any advice for teens trying to deal with stressful troubles?