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GEAR UP Cares About Your Mental Health

Being a teenager can be hard. The pandemic is likely adding more stress to your life. You may be experiencing depression and anxiety. When you are feeling overwhelmed, please know that there are people who can help you. While our GEAR UP staff members are not mental health professionals, we care about you and want to point you in the right direction for mental health support. Talk to your GEAR UP site director or another trusted adult-- a teacher, counselor, doctor, coach, or parent. If you are overwhelmed and feel hopeless and alone, you can also contact one of the crisis lines below.

Symptoms and signs that it's time to ask for help.

Crisis Resources for Immediate Help

Although GEAR UP is not associated with these organizations, we want you to know that they are places that can help you.

Crisis Text Line: For confidential help 24/7, text 741741 to be connected to a crisis counselor. "Crisis doesn’t just mean thinking about ending your own life. It’s any painful emotion and anytime you need support." Note: "The first two responses are automated. They tell you that you’re being connected with a Crisis Counselor and invite you to share a bit more."

Teen Link: 1-866-Teen-Link (833-6546). "Teen volunteers are trained to listen to your concerns and talk/text with you about whatever’s on your mind – bullying, drug and alcohol concerns, relationships, stress, depression. No issue is too big or too small! Calls and chats are confidential. Teen Link text is safe and nonjudgmental." Teens are there to talk/text 6 p.m-10 p.m. Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255. "The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals." "Lifeline ofrece 24/7, gratuito servicios en espaƱol, no es necesario hablar ingles si usted necesita ayuda." For people of all ages.

The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386. "Provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25." Talk, text, or chat 24/7.

Support for Ongoing Well-Being

Mental Health Resource Center: The JED Foundation has information on what to do if you are worried about yourself or a friend. Learn about anxiety, depression, bipolar, eating disorders, and alcohol and substance use disorders.

NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Info for Teens: You can read people's stories and even share your own anonymously at NAMI's OK2TALK, a project aiming to breakdown the stigma around mental health. (Content is monitored.)

Work2BeWell: Teens, share your strategies for bringing mental health awareness to your schools.

GEAR UP Presentation on Suicide Prevention & Resources: Learn the steps you can take to help save the life of a friend, or your own.

Self-Compassion: Learn about meditations and exercises to increase compassion towards yourself.

Apps to Relieve Anxiety

Sanvello App: "A place to feel better: Sanvello gives you clinically proven therapies for dealing with stress, anxiety, depression, or whatever you may be going through."

headspace App: "Less stressed. More resilient. Happier. It all starts with just a few minutes a day."

Liberate Black Meditation App: "Liberate is the meditation app for us, by us that is Black-owned. We’re not only just a meditation app, we’re a safe space for the Black community to develop a daily meditation habit." All are welcome.

Slumber App: Slumber provides many free "sleep stories," or guided visualizations, to help you fall asleep peacefully and awake in the morning feeling well-rested.

Activities to Reduce Stress

If you are in crisis, please access the resources listed above. When you are not in immediate crisis, but still feel anxious and stressed, or your mood is low, try the two exercises in these videos below. Remember to also stay connected to friends and the trusted adults in your life.

The first video guides you through a simple breathing exercise that helps calm the nervous system.

The second video is a short talk by Hailey Bartholomew, Creator of the 365 Grateful Project She'd been depressed for a while then reached out to someone for help. From that relationship emerged the idea of taking one photo a day of something she is grateful for. These turned out to be simple things like a leaf, pancakes, and people. You can also keep a gratitude journal, which is an activity proven to lift our mood and well-being.

Simple Breathing Exercise to Help Anxiety

Creating a Gratitude Practice

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Photo Credit: Omid Armin on UnSplash