Help Me

If you've landed on this page, odds are you have some tough stuff going on. Take a deep breath. What you're experiencing may feel uncomfortable, painful, even nearly unbearable, but we're going to try to give you some tips to ease the pressure.

The single most important thing you can do for yourself is get treatment. Talk to an adult about finding treatment. Remember that you might not find the perfect fit right away. If you get a therapist, make sure you feel comfortable talking openly to them. If you've already tried a therapist for awhile and it's not working, it's probably time to make a switch. Don't give up if the first few therapies you try don't work.

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How do you know if you need treatment? A good rule of thumb is: if you're asking the question, it's worth checking out. If you need more convincing, you can check out this self-diagnostic test for mental illness here and for substance misuse here. Remember that these aren't nearly as accurate as diagnoses from a doctor and are only accurate if you answer honestly.

Some people with mental illness wait far too long to get treatment because they're embarrassed or ashamed. Some people with substance misuse problems resist admitting they have a problem and getting treatment. They convince themselves they don't need help so they can keep using. Either way, remember that getting treatment can open you up to a way of life so much better than what you've known before.

There are also practical ways you can work on yourself. If you struggle with substance misuse, check out a 12-step program like AA or NA, where you can find people who know what you're going through and can give support.

If you have mental health concerns, try focusing on your sleep. Many people with mental illness either get too much or too little sleep, which can wreak havoc on your brain chemistry. In fact, sleep can cause or worsen mental illness - one study found that people with insomnia were 4x more likely to develop depression over a 3yr period. So get those ZZZs in, even if you have to make some lifestyle changes!

Teen Girl Looking Into Distance

You can also try downloading an app like Calm or practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness has been a big buzzword lately, but research shows it can have real benefits for mental health. Mindfulness can help you calm down or control your thoughts, but these benefits often come after much hard work and practice.

Most importantly, if you are thinking about harming yourself or giving up, get on the phone. Call Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 to talk to someone who can help you through the immediate future.

Got 5 minutes? Jump right in with a short mindfulness practice:

Otherwise, is a great resource for diving in to mindfulness.

Another resource is the Take the Pledge app. It's like apps like Calm and Headspace, but it is more mental health centered, and free of charge. Only on iOS, click here to open on App Store.

Take the Pledge:

Take the Pledge Mobile App Logo