After a chaotic year, students can finally find some reprieve on summer break. The pressures of the last school year have dissipated, leaving behind levels of unprecedented stress, depression, and anxiety. For some students, this is a welcome change. For others, it may exacerbate an already uncomfortable mix of emotions leading to distress and deterioration of their mental health.
We know that some students suffer when school’s not in session. Their home lives may be unstable, they may be under-resourced, isolated, struggling with a lack of routine, or all of the above. Schools provide much more than academics, they truly are a safe haven for many students who would be lost without the services they provide. If the pandemic taught us anything, it was that schools are the cornerstones of a community that fill in many gaps for students and their families. These gaps often pertain to students’ physical and mental wellness.
Even if school isn’t currently in session, there are a number of resources that students can access if they’re struggling with their mental health. While we’ve shared many of these in an earlier blog post, we’d like to reshare and provide additional options in case students need help now.
- Go Ask Alice!: This website is created for teens and hosts a variety of questions and answers to address student mental health.
- The Trevor Project is the leading national organization for crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth, offering support 24/7 from trained counselors via phone (1-866-488-7386), chat, text, and their social networking site, TrevorSpace.
- The Anxiety and Depression Association of America’s anonymous peer-to-peer online support group is a safe and supportive place for individuals and their families to share their experiences with depression, anxiety, and other related disorders. They also have a free iOS app.
- A project of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, love is respect is a way for students to access resources and a hotline specific to healthy relationships, dating abuse, and domestic violence. The website is designed specifically for young people with the option to connect with one-on-one support that’s confidential and anonymous.
- Nemours is a nonprofit children’s health system that offers advice on hundreds of physical, emotional, and behavioral topics for kids and teens. Students can access answers to their mental health questions, watch informational videos, and learn new tools and strategies to cope with anxiety, depression, stress, and other challenges.
- The National Alliance on Mental Illness has created the Strength of US community, which provides a platform for adolescents to connect with others about their mental health challenges. The community includes young adult discussion groups, as well as OK2Talk and You Are Not Alone, two spaces for students to blog and share their stories.
- Dealing with Depression is a set of resources to empower teens to understand and limit the effects of depression. It is meant to provide teens and concerned adults with accurate information regarding what depression is and how to address it.
- The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance also has peer-led online support groups for young adults living with depression and bipolar disorder, offering a place to share experiences, discuss coping skills, and give hope to one another.
- Mindfulness for Teens has a repository of free guided meditations designed to help students reduce anxiety and depression while providing avenues to cope with stress.
- The Jed Foundation offers a toolbox for teens to learn social and emotional skills. Their resources around managing stress are easy to understand and implement with practical steps for students to take.
- RemedyLive is a free suicide prevention chat center that’s geared toward teens and available all day, every day. They offer direct support to students who are struggling with mental health challenges or considering an act of suicide.
For students looking for 24-hour support, there are several phone and text lines with individuals standing by to help them day or night. These include:
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Treatment Referral Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
- Crisis Text Line: Text “HOME” to 741741
- The Anti-Violence Project Hotline: 212-714-1141
If your school or district would like to extend the resources offered to students over the summer, Gaggle Therapy might be a strong choice. Gaggle Therapy matches students with therapists for weekly video therapy sessions all year long. Even during nights, weekends, or over summer break, Gaggle Therapy can provide one-to-one therapy services to support your struggling students.
Which digital mental health resources do you leverage when your students need help? Tell us in the comments below!