Here are some options for Staten Island teens struggling with mental health issues

Laura

Editor’s Note: The author of this article is a Curtis High School student who participates in the Advance/SILive.com journalism e-mentorship program. The Curtis-Advance/SILive.com partnership is designed to help young people explore the world of journalism, photography and social media.

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – In today’s social-media-obsessed society, adolescent mental health is a critical and pressing issue that demands attention. As teens undergo rapid physical and psychological growth, coupled with hormonal development, academic pressure and social differences, a lack of attention to nagging self-esteem issues could have a significant impact on their well-being.

“Mental health is an important part of children’s overall health and well-being. Mental health includes children’s mental, emotional and behavioral well-being,” stated the CDC on its website. “It affects how children think, feel and act. It also plays a role in how children handle stress, relate to others and make healthy choices.”

Half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin at age 14, according to the American Psychiatric Association. The organization’s studies showed that 15.1% of youth experienced at least one major depressive episode in the 2018-2019 calendar year, including 8.9% of youth attempting suicide. According to Mental Health America, New York’s data alone showed that 13.29% of youth experienced at least one major depressive episode in 2022.

And on Staten Island, the ratio of population to mental health providers is not what it should be. In fact, research-driven website Data USA showed that the ratio of patients to mental health providers in the borough has decreased by 2.75% since 2014.

So where can Staten Island teens turn when they need assistance? Here are some free mental health services through New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ office:

OK2TALK: An online social community for teens and young adults experiencing mental health problems.

• Teen Talk: Offers information about struggles and mental illness, as well as answers to any questions you may have.

• Seize the Awkward: Offers strategies for ways to connect with friends and family and offers mental health support, from the Jed Foundation and Ad Council.

• Teen Line Online: Offers support given by teenage peers who listen, help settle concerns and explore options.

Here are free, private ways to talk with a mental health professional:

• NYC Well provides free, confidential mental health and substance misuse services in more than 200 languages, regardless of immigration status. Call 1-888-NYCWELL (692-9355) or text “Well” to 65173. You can also chat online at nyc.gov/nycwell.

• Crisis Text Line offers free, emotional support 24/7. Text “HOME” to 741741.

• ULifeline provides mental health resources for college students. Text “START” to 741-741 or call 1-800- 273-TALK (8255).

• Virtual counseling appointments for City University of New York (CUNY) students: https://www.cuny.edu/current-students/student-affairs/student-services/counseling/

• The Trevor Project has a suicide prevention and crisis intervention hotline for LGBTQ youth and their loved ones. Call 1-866-488-7386.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress. If you or someone you know needs support,  call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org.

Here’s a look at some resources for long-term counseling available in the borough:

With increasing rates of anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders among this age group, it is crucial to recognize the importance of addressing and supporting teenage mental health.

Mental health professionals said seeking help is a brave step toward healing. Everyone’s journey is unique, and finding the right path might take time. But experts said the patience and persistence can help teenagers overcome difficult stages of life. Working with a professional counselor is a first step toward a healthier future.

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