I think I need help. What do I do?
ACT—Acknowledge, Care, Tell
- Acknowledge you may have symptoms of depression or suicide
If you think you might be depressed or are thinking about suicide, you need to do something about it! Don’t ignore the warning signs, or think they will just go away. If your friends are reaching out to you and expressing their concern, don’t push them away. Talk to them! Talking openly about your feelings, even if they entail thoughts of suicide, is one of the most helpful things you can do. It is an important first step toward you getting better.
- CARE about yourself
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Because of the stigma surrounding mental illness, people might tell you—even well-meaning adults—to “snap out of it” or “just give it time,” Don’t listen to them! Depression is a serious illness that requires treatment from a medical professional. You can’t wait and hope that your mood might It is not your fault, and nothing you should feel ashamed about. You need to advocate for yourself and get a trusted adult involved.
- TELL a trusted adult
In order to get better you must identify a trusted adult such as a parent, counselor or teacher that you can go talk to. It helps if you have a friend who is able to go with you. If you find yourself alone and your situation is serious, don’t wait until the next day. You can always call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for immediate assistance. These toll-free lines are staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by trained professionals who can help you.
As a reminder, get a trusted adult involved as soon as possible! Here is what you can do:
Talk to your parent(s)/guardian(s). Tell them how you feel. You might mention that you’ve been reading up on depression and, based on the symptoms you are having, you think that might be what’s going on with you. Ask your parent(s)/guardian(s) to arrange for you to meet with a counselor or therapist to find out how you can feel better.
If you feel like you’re not getting anywhere with your parent(s)/guardian(s), talk to your school counselor. Counselors are there for you, and their goal is to help you work through this, especially when it is affecting your schoolwork. Your counselor also may be able to help you when it comes to talking to your parent(s)/guardian(s).
If you are not comfortable with or able to talk to a parent/guardian or school counselor, identify another adult in your life who can help. It is critical that you talk to an adult, so if you choose not to talk to a parent, guardian, or school counselor, explore your other options to identify the adult who you are most comfortable telling. Your friends can help you with this. Remember, it will probably be difficult to have this discussion but a trusted adult can and will help. Some ideas of trusted adults—other than parents/guardians and school counselors—are as follows:
- Religious leader
- Relative (aunt or uncle, for example)
- Friend’s parent