By Kim Gauthier

Teens experience a lot of pressure from a lot of different places, home, school, friends, and family. Sometimes it’s good to be busy. It challenges you to do your best. But, there are other times when you feel like nothing you do is right or that things will never get better.

No matter what’s happening or how you’re feeling, suicide is not the answer.

Don’t give up. There are people who want to help you. Teen Lifeline is a peer hotline with volunteer counselors between ages 15 and 19. Call or text 602-248-8336. It’s a great place to look for help if you’re having thoughts of suicide, feeling depressed, having trouble at school, concerned about a friend or if you just need to talk.

Most teens who are having thoughts of suicide tell a friend.

What should you do if someone tells you that they are considering suicide?

Do not keep it a secret! If you’re a teen, get an adult involved. It may upset your friend at first, but by getting them the help they need, you could be saving your friend’s life.

Other warning signs someone you know may be considering suicide include:

  • Talking about death, wanting to die or feelings of falling apart
  • Changes in sleeping or eating habits
  • Feeling depressed, sad or hopeless for more than two weeks
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Isolating or withdrawing from friends, family or usual social activities

What should you do if you’re feeling depressed or facing problems that seem overwhelming?

Talking is one of the best ways to deal with stress or feelings of depression. If you can’t talk to your parents, talk to another adult you trust, maybe a teacher, a grandparent, or a coach. Think about someone you feel good being around and who you can trust with your feelings.

If you don’t feel like any adults are taking you seriously or if you’re nervous about talking to an adult, call Teen Lifeline at 602-248-8336 for support.

If you’re not ready to talk, try writing about how you feel or what you’re thinking.

Sometimes you can feel overwhelmed – like everything is going wrong at the same time. It’s OK. Things like that happen and it happens to everyone. Try to think about what’s going wrong one thing at a time. Brainstorm solutions to each individual problem. Ask an adult to help.

Know that not every problem can be solved right away. You can’t always change the circumstances that make you feel stressed or sad. If you can’t change the circumstances, look for ways to provide temporary stress relief. For example, you can exercise, read, meditate, dance, draw or listen to music. Or try something new. Want to try yoga? Go on YouTube and look for a beginner’s video. Is there a new craft you’ve always wanted to learn? Google it. Or, just take a walk.

Don’t give up. Things can and will get better.

Peer counselors at Teen Lifeline are available every day by phone or text from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The teen volunteers are from high schools in Arizona. They volunteer because they care about you and what you’re feeling. If you can’t call between 3 and 9 p.m., don’t worry. There will be someone there to talk to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Talk. Write. Reach Out. Think it Out. Remember, the peer counselors at Teen Lifeline are ready to help you. They will listen. Call or text the hotline at 602-248-8336.

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