Dear Readers – I’m reaching out to the many young people who write me – some as young as 12 - because they feel they have no one they can talk to about their problems.
A shocking number say they’re distraught to the point of thinking about suicide.
They feel shame at some self-perceived inadequacy or feel “different,” but have no idea how to get help.
This is for all who nevertheless had the courage to email or write me.
Yes, courage - because you’ve taken a first step. It also shows that you’re thoughtful, and concerned about what your problem means to the people you care about.
I cannot “talk” with you, but I can direct you to those who can.
There are people who help, through easily accessible online websites or by phone hotlines. The information you give is confidential. Trained people will listen, but won’t be shocked or judgmental.
They understand that what’s happening to you can make you feel sad, frightened, and even desperate.
You need to know and believe that the loneliness about your situation can be eased, just by opening up to someone who listens.
If you need help right now, KidsHelpPhone is a place to start – at 1-800-668-6868 for all of Canada, and kidshelphone.ca. This agency helps “kids” to ages 20, the phone and web counselling you’ll get is free and available 24/7. You don’t have to say who you are; whatever you say is safe.
There are online discussion groups and information about bullying, violence, abuse, emotional health, dating, school, and more.
For kids and teens in the US, as well as in other countries, go to www.hotlines.50webs.com, where you can access USA national hotlines for child abuse, suicide prevention, run away issues, and more.
Phone numbers for direct conversations with national US hotlines are:
Childhelp National Child Abuse – 1-800-422-4453 is accessible 24/7.
Calls to 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433) are connected to a certified crisis center nearest the caller’s location, 24/7.
The Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) is open to talk about such things as abuse/violence, sexual orientation issues, loneliness, relationships, family problems, mental health/illness, physical illness, or to help a friend or loved one.
Call 1-800-RUNAWAY if you’re a teenager thinking of running from home, or if you know someone who’s run and needs help, or if you’re ready to go home again. It’s anonymous, confidential, and free.
There are also hotlines listed for some specific religious communities in which young people are experiencing distress.