Mental Health


During your adolescent or teen years you will experience a lot of changes both physically, with your body and emotionally, with your feelings. These changes are perfectly normal and every person you have ever met has had some of the same experiences with these changes, so relax. It is also not uncommon for teens to develop problems with their mental health.

Understanding Yourself

Feelings such as stress, anger, or depression are a normal part of life. Learning about your own mood changes is important to knowing who you are. Here are a few things you can do to help understand and manage your wide range of emotions.


  • Everyone feels stress at times!
  • A little stress is OK.
  • You know you are stressed if you
    • Have trouble sleeping
    • Forget about important things
    • You are sick a lot
    • You feel nervous all the time

Things You Can Do:

  • Take time for yourself-do the things that make you feel good-eat good foods, exercise, and don’t use drugs or alcohol;
  • Share your problems with someone you can talk to;
  • Get enough sleep;
  • Learn to say “no”. This can be difficult, but it is better to say no than cancel or feel stressed about saying yes.


  • Anger is a normal and important feeling. Anger can also be a very powerful feeling. You should try to recognize that you are angry before you explode.
  • Try to calm yourself down by taking deep breaths or removing yourself from the situation for a short while so that you can think clearly about the problem and possible solutions.
  • Communicate to the people around you about your anger and your needs.
  • Violence is never the answer!



  • It’s perfectly normal to be depressed or “bummed out” at times. Everyone has bad days, but things usually get better. Some symptoms you may be experiencing include:
    • Sleeping too much or trouble sleeping
    • Eating too much or trouble eating
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Withdrawal from family and friends
    • Loss of interest in activities or social gatherings
    • Frequent crying
    • Unexplained violent or rebellious behavior
    • Weight loss or gain
    • Physical complaints, like stomachaches, headaches and feeling tired
    • Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness

It’s important to remember that we are all valuable, unique people. Everyone has strengths as well as weaknesses.

What To Do If You Are Depressed:

There are many things you can do to help yourself out of your depression. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Try to understand the cause of your depression – a loss, a need that’s unfulfilled, trouble at home or school, relationship problems, etc. – be honest with yourself
  2. Talk to someone you trust. Tell them how you are feeling. You may feel better by letting someone know what’s bothering you.
  3. If it’s too hard to talk, write! Write out your feelings, thoughts, frustrations, etc. No one needs to read them but you.
  4. Be involved with other people. Keep in touch with friends and family. Do not be alone too often.
  5. Get some exercise. It will take your mind off your troubles, plus give you more energy to tackle them!
  6. Get out of the house at least an hour each day. Take a walk.
  7. Look your best. Shower or bathe, wear your favorite clothes, fix your hair nicely.
  8. Praise yourself each day for something good and worthwhile you have done. Remember, you are special!
  9. If your depression lasts for a long time, you don’t know what to do about it, or you feel suicidal, talk to a professional counselor right away.


You may have a friend that you are concerned about. Here is some information on how to help a depressed friend

What To Do If Your Friend is Having a Hard Time:

It’s hard to know what to do or say when someone you care about is feeling down and depressed. Being there for them is a first step in letting them know you care. Some suggestions are:

  1. Talk to them. Let them know you will be supportive, understanding and open to talking about anything.
  2. Listen to them. They need to talk about their feelings before they can feel better.
  3. Try to understand how they feel. Don’t ask them to ignore their feelings (deny their feelings) or suggest that the feelings aren’t important and will soon go away (minimize their feelings). Sometimes there may not be a ‘reason’ for feeling depressed.
  4. Encourage them to participate in activities they used to enjoy. But warn them to keep away from competition. Sometimes when you are feeling down, losing a competition can be especially painful.
  5. Be tolerant! It may be frustrating being with depressed people. Often they are sad and don’t have fun or laugh like they used to. Remember they need you, even though they may not be able to show it.
  6. Don’t be a “know-it-all” and tell the depressed person what to do.
  7. Don’t try to push the depressed person into cheerfulness.
  8. Take all mentions of suicide seriously! It is NOT true that “anyone who talks or jokes of suicide won’t do it”.
  9. If your friend is talking or thinking of suicide, make sure that they see a professional counselor right away. If they refuse to see a counselor or one is not available immediately, tell their parents, or your parents or some other caring adult. Going with a friend to see a professional is helpful. Don’t try to handle the situation by yourself.



Places to call in the Twin Cities Area:
African American Family Services (612) 871-7878
The Annex Teen Clinic (763-533-1315)
The Bridge For Runaway Youth (612) 347-3161]
Crisis Line (612) 347-3161
Crisis Connection (612) 379-6363
District 202 (612) 871-5559 Questions about sexual identity
Harriet Tubman 24 hour crisis line (612) 825-0000
Rape and Sexual Assault Center (612) 825-4357 (HELP)
Suicide Prevention Line (612) 374-2222
Teen Age Medical Services (TAMS) (612) 813-6125
Teens Alone (952)-988-8336

West Suburban Teen Clinic 953-474-3251
Crisis Intervention Center
Open 24 hours a day, no appointment necessary
Hennepin County Medical Center
701 Park Avenue South, Minneapolis
Phone: (612) 374-3161

Walk-In Counseling Center
Free counseling, no appointment necessary
2421 Chicago Avenue South, Minneapolis
Phone: (612) 870-0565
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 1-3 p.m.
Monday – Thursday evenings 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Website Resources: