Mental health is an important part of our overall health and well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It may also affect how we relate to others, make choices, and handle stressful situations (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, n.d.).
Many people experience increased stress during times of uncertainty, such as during an emergency like a natural disaster or the loss of a family member, or when making a big transition in their lives, like aging out of the foster care system or moving to a new community. These are the times when finding and accessing resources to support your mental health needs are most important. The information and resources below are to help you navigate getting the help you need.
If you are supporting a young person, find additional information and resources.
Please note: This webpage is intended for the sole purpose of providing information on topics related to mental health and is not meant as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. Those who are in crisis or in a harmful situation should seek immediate assistance from emergency personnel by calling 911, calling the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988, or using their online chat.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, self-care is “the practice of taking an active role in protecting one's own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.” Find free resources below to help you practice self-care and manage stress during times of uncertainty (and always).
4 Techniques to Help You Relax
Youth Engaged 4 Change
Highlights four relaxation practices: breathing techniques, guided imagery, muscle relaxation, and yoga poses.
11 Self-Care Tips for Teens and Young Adults
Offers 11 tools for promoting self-care and reduce stress for young people, including yoga, meditation, creative expression, and more.
Provides a variety of free self-care resources, including resources for people living with mental illness, those concerned about unemployment, and for students with children.
Explains how stress impacts the body and provides techniques for managing stress, including different breathing techniques.
1. Call 911 or other local emergency personnel if you are in crisis and need immediate assistance.
2. Get support from free hotlines by texting, calling, or accessing online 24/7:
- 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline
- Crisis Text Line
Text HOME to 741741 for crisis counseling
Chat, text, or call 1-800-422-4453
Find additional hotlines and treatment resources from the CDC.
3. Reach out to a trusted adult.
Everyone needs someone in their life who they can reach out to for support during hard times.
- This can be a social worker, foster parent, therapist, teacher, or someone else in your life who you can trust.
- Even if you cannot meet with them in person, ask if a phone or video call is an option. (See Things to consider for tips on ensuring privacy during virtual meetings).
4. Find nearby treatment options.
The trusted adult in your life can help identify nearby treatment options for your mental health needs. Make sure to ask about any documentation or resources you may need to access services—insurance card, money for a co-pay, etc.
Additionally, there are free online tools to help you find nearby mental health service providers:
- Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
- Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Finder
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
- Find a Psychiatrist
American Psychiatric Association
- Find a Psychologist
American Psychological Association
The resources below cover a wide range of topics related to mental health and well-being that may be useful in understanding and supporting your overall health.
For Young People Looking for Help
Explains how your mental health can impact your daily life and how to get help when you need it.
A Guide to Toxic Stress
Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University
Offers a guide on toxic stress and how to lessen its effects on mental and physical health.
Instagram Live: Understanding Trauma & Building Resiliency [Video]
Youth Engaged 4 Change
Discusses how recent events, such as the pandemic or civil unrest, can be traumatic and difficult to process, and offers strategies for coping and building resiliency.
Kids, Teens and Young Adults
National Alliance on Mental Illness
Find resources on taking charge of your mental health, learn how to help a friend who is struggling, and find support as a student.
Shares blog posts relating to mental health for youth who are involved with or were previously involved with the foster care system.
Mental Health and Wellbeing
Youth Engaged 4 Change
Offers a variety of mental health and well-being resources, including perspectives from youth about managing their mental health.
Support for Teens and Young Adults
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2020)
Provides information and resources on COVID-19, including resources for supporting your mental health.
- When talking about personal or sensitive topics, think about your privacy, especially when meeting virtually.
- Before your phone or video call, identify a quiet place where you would feel comfortable talking openly, such as a room where you can close the door.
- Wearing headphones may also help block out external noise and keep the conversation more private.
- Check ahead of time to make sure you have the necessary software and hardware for your meeting.
- Apps such as Zoom, Skype, etc., typically offer free versions to use for short video calls. Download them before your meeting to make sure you can sign in.
- Test that your Wi-Fi, audio, and camera devices work to avoid any technical issues and to be able to focus on your call.
- If you cannot identify a private space or do not have the equipment needed, ask your social worker or trusted adult for assistance in securing what you need before your meeting starts.