If you are thinking about going to see a therapist, the following Q&As can give you some insight into what to expect. Keep in mind that many teens are in therapy today, trying to gain greater insight into the way they think, act and react.

Q. Am I "Crazy" If I Go to Therapy?

A. Having therapy does not mean you are crazy! At least 1 in 5 teens (20%) have mental health issues. Doctors and therapists treat mental health problems just like any medical problem. For instance, if you break your leg, you go to an orthopedic doctor. If you have an earache, you see an ear, nose, and throat specialist. If you are depressed, anxious, or need someone to talk to, you go to a therapist.

Q. What Is Mental Health?

A. Mental health includes how you act, feel, and think in different situations. Teens have mental health problems when their actions, feelings, or thoughts regularly create obstacles in their lives. Everybody has times when they think or feel something that they don't like. Other times, people do things that other people don't like. Both of these situations are normal. But when the unwanted thoughts, feelings, or actions regularly create problems, there may be a mental health problem. Counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists are people who help others with mental health problems.

Q. Why Do Teens Have Mental Health Problems?

A. Mental health problems can be caused by many different things. Some common causes include"

  • Medical conditions. Some medical conditions can make you think, feel, or act strangely. If you go to a doctor or psychiatrist for a mental health problem, they will first check whether a medical condition could be not causing the problem.

  • Violence or other abuse such as emotional, sexual, physical or parent neglect. When something bad happens to a person, or they see something bad happen, they can develop a mental health problem.

  • Stress. Everybody gets stressed out. Some stress can be helpful (like motivating you to study for a test). But too much stress can cause problems like ongoing family problems, relationship or dating problems, sexuality concerns, worry about others etc.

  • Losing a relationship. If someone close to you dies, moves away, or doesn't want to be friends anymore, it is normal to feel sad or lonely. Usually these feelings get better over time. But sometimes they worsen, or affect other parts of your life.

  • Drugs and alcohol. It is definitely a popular way to try to get "a break" from stress or a way to be social and party, or even a normal thing in your family or friends.  Unfortunately, drugs eventually become a problem because your brain starts to think they are more important than your health, safety, education, relationships, family even more important than money or other basic things we need.   Even without an obvious addiction a person can be "functional" going to school or work and living at home for a long time and still develop other problems.  This can be a loss of desire to be around other people because of trust issues or paranoia or drunk driving or later regretted sexual behavior.  I am so sorry if you have been going through this, you are definitely not the only one and I can give you information and let you know your options to get off the habit of drugs and alcohol and get to pursue your dreams and get back to happy awesome healthy you!

IF YOU WANT TO TALK TO OTHER  TEENS ABOUT YOUR PROBLEMS I RECOMMEND:

TEEN LINE is a confidential hotline for teenagers which operates every evening from 6:00pm to 10:00pm PST. (Counselors from DiDi Hirsch program answer phones at all other times). If you are a teen and have a problem or just want to talk with another teen who understands, then this is the right place for you! You can call us at 800-TLC-TEEN (852-8336), text by texting “TEEN” to 839863 (6-9:00pm) or email through page at https://teenlineonline.org/talk-now/. TEEN LINE also offers message boards, resources and good information.

The TEEN LINE volunteers who answer the calls, emails and texts are Southern California teenagers who have received specialized training. They won’t judge you or give advice – their job is to listen to your feelings and help you to clarify your concerns, define the options available to you, and help you make positive decisions.

No problem is too small, too large, or too shocking for the TEEN LINE volunteers. Issues that teenagers are dealing with include abuse, depression, divorce, bullying, anxiety, gangs, gender identity, homelessness, pregnancy, relationships, sexuality, violence, substance abuse, self harm, and suicide.

The hotline receives over 15,000 calls, texts, and emails each year
More than 38,000 attend our outreaches to schools & community groups annually. The website receives more than 1.268 million visitors annually from all over the world. Our Teen Listeners have a special ability to understand and empathize with callers because they are teens themselves. Resource Associates, our volunteer mental health professionals, provide on-site supervision and support to the Teen Line Listeners, particularly important after a difficult call. Our Community Outreach Program reaches over 38,000 each year, opening dialogues to reduce stigma and educate the community about issues pertinent to adolescence. Our Teen Suicide Prevention Training has been a regular part of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Juvenile Procedures School curriculum since 1996.

Certified by the American Association of Suicidology (1-800-SUICIDE)

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