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Introduction to adolescent mental health
Introduction to adolescent mental health

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3.2 Online forums

One of the most important aspects of online supportive resources is that they are frequently accessible at very short notice and are often accessible 24-hours a day. This can be an important aspect as it allows young people to reach out whenever they are struggling and when they might think it is not appropriate to reach out to more formal sources of support.

Self-help for adolescents can be supported online via websites and mobile apps. Many charities now provide support directly to adolescents via their websites. For example, YoungMinds and Childline provide advice on a range of issues from bullying to explaining mental health conditions, to asking for help.

Activity 9: Finding help online

Timing: Allow about 30 minutes

In this activity, you are encouraged to work through some of the supportive resources that are available online, both for you and for the young person you may be concerned about. Below we have a provided a list of resources.

Spend the next thirty minutes exploring each of them and make a note of those which you think you may want to revisit at another time. Remember to open these links in a new window so you can return to the course when you are ready. (To open a link in a new window or tab, right-click on the link and select ‘Open in new window/tab’. Or, to open in a new tab, hold the Ctrl key as you select the link.)

You may have noticed while you were reading these websites that they contain a lot of information. It is also important to notice that some of these charities also run some helplines that can provide, in many cases, instant access to a counsellor or trained volunteer. Here are some of the most commonly used that we have come across.

  • Hopeline UK – ​call 0800 068 41 41​ ​if you are having suicidal thoughts
  • Childline message boards 0800 1111 (always open, website includes online counselling)
  • Kooth - free, safe and anonymous online support for young people. Monday-Friday Noon-10pm and Saturday/Sunday 6-10pm
  • Mermaids – 0808 801 0400 – supporting transgender youth, their families and professionals working with them. (Mon-Fri 9am-9pm)
  • The Samaritans – 116 123 / (always open)
  • Shout – text SHOUT to 85258. 24/7 free text service for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere.
  • YoungMinds Crisis Messenger – text YM to 8525 for free. 24/7 crisis support.
  • YoungMinds Parents Helpline – 0808 802 5544 (Mon-Fri from 9:30-4pm).
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In the next section you will explore how apps can provide a form of therapeutic support and treatment.