You may be familiar with YA fiction books that deal with mental health issues, but in honor of it being Mental Health Month, I’m highlighting mostly nonfiction YA resources (with a few new or forthcoming fiction titles). When colleagues ask me for nonfiction books to recommend to teens to help them cope with mental health issues, I don’t find many. Sure, there are those written that will be useful for class reports, but not many nonfiction titles that offer real, practical, how-to advice. Most of the helpful resources I have found are online in the form of blogs, articles, brochures, or pamphlets since that’s what’s easiest to keep up-to-date.
Youth Mental Health Resources – Online Resources
Medlineplus, that has health information from the National Library of Medicine, includes a teen mental health section on its database, that’s free to access.
KidsHealth is part of the KidsHealth family of websites. These sites, run by the nonprofit Nemours Center for Children’s Health Media, provide accurate, up-to-date health information that’s free of “doctor speak.” Their site has very understandable and helpful information for teens on a variety of topics, including teen suicide.
TeensHealth has information about health related to teens, such as information about body, mind, sexual health, food & fitness, diseases & conditions, infections, school & jobs, drugs & alcohol, and staying safe.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has information that will help teens learn more about suicide, how to prevent it, cope with a suicide loss, research, and ways to get involved in suicide prevention, such as Out of the Darkness Walks. If you are a teen in crisis, resources are available online on this site for you.
Apps for Youth that Provide Mental Health Assistance –Many of these apps focus on crisis intervention, including:
DoSomething.org’s Crisis Text Line –Provides teens with free, round-the-clock access to trained counseling and referrals.
Mood 24/7 – This app allows users, including teens, to send a daily text message about how they feel to a doctor, a therapist or loved one.
CodeBlue – This project by Melon Health, scheduled to launch spring of 2016, is designed to help teens alert members of a designated support network with a text message whenever they feel acutely depressed. It is designed to provide teenagers struggling from depression or bullying with support when they need it. Users can choose several contacts to be part of their support group. With just a few taps, the app will alert the support group that the user needs immediate help. Members of the support group can then text or call the user. The app can also share the user’s location with the support group, and members can indicate that they are on their way to see the user in person. Code Blue will be free on both iOS and Android.
BoosterBuddy –This Canadian app provides teens with a list of coping mechanisms, tips for controlled breathing exercises, types of mental health concerns, and ways to manage symptoms. BoosterBuddy was created by Calgary-based developers Robots & Pencils, Island Health, Victoria Hospitals Foundation and a $150,000 donation from Coast Capital Savings. The app helps teens do the following:
- Check-in with how you are feeling each day
- Use coping skills
- Keep track of appointments and medications
- Get started on tasks
- Follow self-care routines
- Increase real-life socialization