NYC Youth Mental Health Resources
This resource was created by a group of high school students in New York City who are passionate about breaking the stigma and offering support to youth dealing with mental health issues. They were supported in this work by the Service Learning Project (SLP) (www.servicelearningnyc.org).
Art by Brys Peralta
Tools for a Mental Health Crisis
Creating a support system
Often when we are struggling with our mental health, we feel alone. You may have friends and family to reach out to, but doing so at the moment can feel overwhelming. Using those around you for support is a vital step when facing mental health struggles. Creating a plan for who to reach out to and how can alleviate some of the strain. Find a place to write down this list that is easy to access and convenient; in your phone, a journal, a planner, or another place you often reference. Create a list of a few people you feel comfortable reaching out to in a crisis; maybe that’s a parent, friend, guardian, teacher, or a therapist. If you typically can’t find the words to ask for help, then writing some ideas or prompts may help you when needed. You can think of your own, but these are a few examples I find helpful.
1. “I’m going through a tough time, and not sure what to ask for, but I don’t want to be alone.”
2. “I could really use someone to talk to right now, can you (call, FaceTime, meet up)?”
3. “I can’t be alone right now. Can you talk to me until I feel (safe, better, calm)?”
4. “I’m really overwhelmed, and what I’m doing isn’t working. Can you help me form a new plan?”
5. “I know we haven’t spoken recently, but I feel like you’re someone I can trust. Can we talk?”
It is important to know how to ask for help. In moments of distress, you may not have the words. Building up your arsenal of tools and resources will help you feel more supported and prepared.
Identifying Coping Mechanisms
Sometimes certain emotions or physical symptoms can catch us off guard. Involuntary sensations, whether they are emotional or physical, can be scary and overwhelming. We may feel unable to tackle it at the moment. Even if we have experienced these feelings before, it can be difficult to recall all of our coping skills off hand. One way to ease the pressure is to create a plan. Find a place where you feel comfortable writing down this information, a place that is easily accessible and convenient. Create a list of some things that you may struggle with. This process may be triggering, so do it at your own speed and comfort. Under each item on that list, write a few triggers, emotions, or symptoms that occur as a result of this. Then try and brainstorm a few ways to cope with these feelings. Here is an example that may be helpful.
1. “I’ve been struggling with my anxiety recently.”
2. “I feel detached from reality.”
3. “Have a conversation with someone. Inhale for four seconds, hold for three, exhale for five. Count three things I can see, feel, and smell. Change of scenery, go to a different room or area. Drink a glass of water.”
Referencing these lists may help you feel more in control; it will, at the very least, give you concrete next steps to take. It is important to remind ourselves that the things we feel, are feelings; they can be alleviated and even changed.
Each of the links and hotlines provided can aid you in different crises. The suicide hotline will direct you to a mental health professional on the other line to for immediate help. The anxiety hotline can be helpful when you feel overwhelmed or feel like you’re prone to an anxiety or panic attack. The professional on the other line can help to talk you through either situation. Mental health professionals can be useful in times when you feel as though you have no one else to turn to or can’t talk to someone else in your life. The meditation videos linked can be useful for grounding purposes or to help ease anxiety.
Anxiety Breathing Exercises
Meditation for Breathing Exercises
NYC Mental Health Resources
City Wide Resources
National Alliance on Mental Illness – NYC: 505 8th Ave #1103, New York, NY 10018
Community Health Charities: 1350 Broadway STE 1610, New York, NY 10018
Nonprofit NY: 320 E 43rd St 3rd floor, New York, NY 10017
Websites to Check Out
Hotlines to Call
CALL 1-800-543-3638 (LIFENET).
Text WELL to 65173*
Text GOT5 to 741741.
Samaritans 24-Hour Crisis Hotline (212) 673-3000
NAMI NYC HELPLINE: 212-684-3264
Free Apps to Explore
Mindshift (anxiety and stress)
Smiling Mind (wellbeing , stress)
Woebot (anxiety, depression, stress)
Sanvello paid features (anxiety, depression, stress)
Borough Specific Resources
Resources for Parents & Educators
Our goal for students is to have access to mental health support. About 76.2% of students do not seek mental health support from their school even if it’s available and educators can play a critical role in supporting their students and reversing this trend. Students spend most of their time with educators. We believe educators should be given the tools they need to understand the causes and impact of mental health struggles and to help decrease stigma that can prevent students from seeking needed help. Schools can create programs that extend beyond the classroom such as school-based mental health programs that focus on mental wellness, preventing mental health problems, and providing treatment. Advisors and social workers can play a critical role in spreading awareness and helping students feel more comfortable accessing school-based mental health resources. Educators can develop their understanding of mental health by researching online programs. Kognito, for example, provides professional development on finding solutions for grades pre-K through 12. Another online resource is Heard Alliance which provides a toolkit to inform importance on mental health. QPR Gatekeeper is an online training course for educators on suicidal crisis. It’s important for school administrations to acknowledge these issues and to provide all school staff with a broad knowledge of mental health.
It is important for students to receive adequate mental health support. Understanding what mental health support is, knowing how to help and get help for your teen, and being understanding of what your child may be going through are your most important roles when your children face challenges. How can you do this? Many free resources are available for teens, and guiding your teens to some of these resources, like their school counseling department is important. Looking out for signs of mental health issues, like loss of energy, changes in appetite or sleep, anger, and frequent mood changes can be signs of mental health issues. If you see any, you should speak to your teen about how they are doing, and if you are concerned, don’t be afraid to seek professional support on behalf of your teen.
Above all, it is important for parents to decrease mental health stigma within their house. Avoid speaking negatively about people who suffer from anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues; this may cause your children to avoid seeking out help when they need it, making the situation worse.