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Mental Health & Wellbeing

One in five teens experiences mental health problems. Most mental health problems go undiagnosed and untreated. You may experience stigma talking about mental health problems, but it is important to discuss these problems with a healthcare provider, trusted friend or adult, because these issues can extend into adulthood and cause more serious issues and an unhappy lifestyle. It is also important to learn how you might be able to support others who may be experiencing mental health problems.   

Types of Mental Health Problems

For any of these problems, or even questions about maybe having these problems, you should talk to your doctor or another trusted adult. They can help connect you with a therapist or a psychiatrist.

  • Many people see therapists even if they don’t have any mental health illnesses, as it can be helpful just to have someone impartial to talk to.

  • Therapists can recommend solutions that don’t involve medicine, like meditation or other methods to help understand and control your emotions. They can also help tell you when medication might be useful. In this case, you would see a psychiatrist to get medications that can help treat many of the conditions listed below.

  • There are lots of options, so even if you don’t like the first medicine you try, you should tell your psychiatrist and they can help you switch to another medicine. However, you do have to take most psychiatric medicines for 6-8 weeks before noticing any differences, so you may want to stick it out until then to make sure you know what effect it’s having. 

Emotional problems
Trouble concentrating
Trouble eating
Suicide and self-harm

Depression can affect your sexual and reproductive health. 

  • Decreased “libido” (desire to have sex) 

  • Increased anxiety about sex 

  • Erectile dysfunction 

  • Premenstrual syndrome (“PMS”) or more severely, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (“PMDD”) 

  • Irregular periods 

  • Postpartum depression in the months following childbirth 

Mental health problems can lead to other problems

Many people who are experiencing mental health difficulties also struggle with: 

  • School and grades 

  • Drug and alcohol use 

  • Unhealthy sexual behaviors 

  • Unhealthy relationships 

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Click to read about common misconceptions about therapy. 

How can I start seeing a therapist?

How can I talk to my parent/guardian about starting therapy?

How do I ask my doctor/pediatrician/health care provider about medication?

Antidepressant Fast Facts

  • They are the third most commonly prescribed drug in the US -- one in ten Americans over the age of 12 take them!

  • They take 6-8 weeks to work!  So if you don’t feel any different right away, you should wait for 2 months to reach a conclusion on whether or not your medication is helpful to you.  

  • Like all drugs, they can cause side effects.  Sometimes people have nausea, tiredness, or weight gain. Sexual dysfunction, the lack of sexual desire or interest, is also a potential side effect of antidepressants. Between 30% and 70% of people who take antidepressant medications experience sexual problems, which can begin as early as the first week. Your doctor can work with you to manage these side effects by changing your medication dosage, for example.

  • Taking antidepressant medication doesn’t mean that you’re weak or broken in any way.  Sometimes medication is necessary for talk therapy to work, or for you to feel the best you can.

Stimulant Fast Facts

  • They are a group of chemicals that can increase the excitement of your nervous system.

  • Stimulant prescription drugs can be used to help treat ADHD, chronic fatigue, and in some cases depression, although there are also non-stimulant medications that can be used.  

  • Nicotine, caffeine, and cocaine are all stimulants, as well as prescription drugs like amphetamines (also called Adderall) and methylphenidate (also called Ritalin). 

  • These drugs can be habit-forming, meaning that you may have to take more and more to have the same effect.  You might also have withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop taking them. Talk to your doctor about any dependency or symptoms that you are concerned about.

  • If you’re having trouble concentrating or you feel like you might have ADHD, it is much safer to ask a doctor for help, rather than buying pills from your friends.  A doctor can help you figure out the right dose to make you feel like your best possible self. 

Ways to boost your mental health:

​To learn more about connectedness, see this page from the CDC

take care of your physical health (exercise, eat well, get quality sleep)

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meditate (use an app like Calm, Cerebral, or Headspace)

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spend time with people you love

change up your usual routine (like bike to school, if possible)

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practice mindfulness - journal and reflect, and be present in the moment

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talk to a therapist or doctor about what treatments are right for you

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Resources for mental health

SAMHSA Hotline

SAMHSA stands for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. They have a 24/7 hotline that you can call.

English and Spanish are available.


Suicide Prevention Hotline

The national suicide prevention hotline is open 24/7. They provide free and confidential emotional support via phone call.  

English: 1-800-273-8255

Spanish: 1-800-628-9454

Crisis Text Line

Text SIGNS to 741741 for 24/7, anonymous, free, crisis counseling. 

If the situation is not an emergency, you can make an appointment with a Violet healthcare provider and we can help connect you to resources. 

In case of emergency, remember that dialing 9-1-1 is always an option. 

Being a member of the LGBTQIA+ community is not a mental illness, nor does it cause other mental illnesses. 

Challenges and stigma faced specifically by LGBTQIA+ teens put them at a higher risk of experiencing mental illness than other teens. Studies have found that LGBTQIA+ teens are six times as likely to experience symptoms of depression compared to non-LGBTQIA+ teens.

For resources specific to LGBTQIA+ mental health, check out the Resources section of the Violet LGBTQIA+ health page

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Related pages: 

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