If you’re a teenager, before seeking professional help for a problem, you may just want information about mental health for yourself, or a friend.

The websites, apps, and hotlines listed here are not intended to substitute for the best, strongly recommended first step in seeking help for yourself or a friend – talking to a known, trusted adult. They are meant to provide a secondary option if you are unable to reach out to an adult (or another kid) in your immediate environment, at a given moment.

Your parents may be the best first-line responders if you or a friend is in a tough spot; if not, consider a trusted teacher, coach, school nurse, or your pediatrician. If none of these seem like options, think about checking in with an older sibling or friend who may have some useful life experience and ideas to offer.

Remember, you may not get a perfect solution right away. What’s important is that by telling someone, you are no longer alone in dealing with whatever problems you are facing. And someone outside of your immediate situation may be able to help you think more clearly about what might help.

Always, if you or someone you know has already hurt themselves, the first step is to call 911 for immediate emergency medical assistance.




When nothing matters anymore: a survival guide for depressed teens

By Bev Cobain. Free Spirit Publishing. Golden Valley, MN. 2007.

The noonday demon: An atlas of depression

By Andrew Solomon. Scribner Division: Simon and Schuster. New York. 2001.

The anti-depressant book: a practical guide for teens and young adults to overcome depression and stay healthy

By Jacob Towery. Self-published. San Francisco. 2016.



These apps for your phone or tablet are quick, accessible ways to get some relief from a difficult mood at any time of day, no matter where you are. They are available on iTunes store or on Google Play for Android devices.


Based in cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, MindShift offers help with generalized anxiety, test/performance anxiety, panic, and “riding out intense emotions.” It helps users change thought patterns and confront feared situations.


Meditation apps

Recent research shows that meditation is an extremely effective intervention for depression and anxiety. It can help quiet your thoughts and has proven significant physiological effects that reduce anxiety and improve mood. These apps are simple and straightforward to use. No formal meditation training or experience required.

  • Buddhify: meditation for any situation, $2.99

  • Headpsace: mood tracking and meditation, anxiety reduction, free 10-day trial, then a monthly subscription rate of $5

  • Meditation oasis: also good for sleep, free to $3.99 (depending on the indivual app)



How (not) to respond to a depressed friend


Crisis hotlines

The Trevor Project Lifeline

24 hours/day, 7 days/week

The Trevor Project offers a telephone hotline, as well as text message and online instant chat service with trained suicide prevention volunteers. The Trevor Project hotline is the only crisis intervention hotline for LGBTQ youth that is accredited by the American Association of Suicidology.

You do not need to be suicidal to call. Many teenagers call, text or chat because they are going through a difficult time or just need to talk to someone who understands LGBTQ issues..

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

24 hours/day, 7 days/week

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers a telephone hotline and online chat service with trained suicide prevention volunteers. Their Website also has a very useful page with contact information for or direct access to social media safety teams that you can contact if someone online is posting suicidal thoughts or intentions.