Sad or stressed? Here’s where to find health-ful info

The internet has good resources — if you know how to steer clear of the misinformation

a photo of a kid in a white hoodie holding a smartphone. They are sitting cross-legged, the photo only shows their torso and hands.

Stressed teens often go online to find distractions. But the internet can be a great source of real help, too — if you know where to look. Therapists and others can point kids to dependable resources for dealing with anxiety, bullying or other mental health challenges. Many are only a phone call or text away.

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The internet can be a great tool for gaining knowledge. Not surprisingly, today’s plugged-in teens often turn to the internet looking for help. And when they feel blue, isolated or anxious, the first place they look for help will likely be online, notes Munya Hayek.

Unfortunately, she adds, there’s a lot of misinformation out there. Hayek is a child and adolescent psychiatrist at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass.

“I tell people, don’t just Google it. Because we don’t want you to get misinformation.” As therapists, Hayek says, “We’ll give you the resources to look these things up.”

Some of those resources are well-known. They include the U.S. suicide and crisis hotline. People can reach it by dialing or texting 988. It’s like 911, but for mental health emergencies. You also can text to get help at 741-741. Both resources are available 24/7 for U.S. residents. They’re also free.

Other organizations offer non-emergency resources for people with depression or anxiety. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) runs a non-emergency mental health helpline that people can call or text. Helpline volunteers will direct people to resources for a host of conditions. These range from depression and anxiety to eating disorders and loneliness. And yes, loneliness can be harmful to your health.

The Jed Foundation (JED) is a nonprofit aimed at reducing teen and young-adult suicide. It has a lot of online resources. Some are focused on helping yourself. Others focus on helping others

Suicide was the third leading cause of death among U.S. teens ages 15-19 in 2021. If you or someone you know is suffering from suicidal thoughts, please seek help. In the United States, you can reach the Suicide Crisis Lifeline 24/7 by calling or texting 988. Please do not suffer in silence.

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