Get information and resources about adolescent mental health and how to support adolescents.
Mental Health during COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the lives and mental health of many individuals. Below are resources on managing increased stress and anxiety during this time.
Teens and young adults:
- National Alliance on Mental Illness: COVID-19 Resource and Information Guide
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Support for Teens and Young People
Parents and caregivers:
Mental Health Screening
Adults can help support the mental health of adolescents by connecting them to the services they need. Clinical preventive services for adolescents include screenings in five areas to identify any mental health concerns: alcohol use, child maltreatment, depression, illicit drug use, and suicide risk. Health insurance plans generally cover these screening services without out-of-pocket costs.
Learn more about mental health screening
- MyHealthfinder – Get Your Teen Screened for Depression
- U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) – Screening for Anxiety in Children and Adolescents
- USPSTF – Screening for Depression and Suicide Risk in Children and Adolescents
- USPSTF – Illicit Drug Use in Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults: Primary Care-Based Interventions
- USPSTF – Unhealthy Alcohol Use in Adolescents and Adults: Screening and Behavioral Counseling Interventions
Treatment for Mental Health Disorders
The most effective treatment varies by mental health disorder and individual. Depression is usually treated by medications, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two. Meditation and exercise may be helpful for someone with an anxiety disorder, while people who have experienced trauma may find exposure therapy most helpful.
Mobile care is a new frontier for mental health treatment and can take many forms, including crisis response teams and online resources. Applications, or apps, for electronic devices like cell phones and tablets are a convenient option for people who may have a hard time getting to an in-person appointment and can extend support for those who do attend in-person therapy sessions. Telehealth services and apps may be especially useful in rural areas, making crisis services more accessible to individuals typically underserved by mental health professionals due to geographic and transportation challenges, as well as gaps in treatment and social services.
Learn more about mental health disorders and treatment
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Learn about Mental Illness
- MentalHealth.gov – What to Look For
- National Alliance on Mental Illness – About Mental Illness
- National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) – Children and Mental Health: Is This Just a Stage?
- NIMH – Health Topics (also available in Spanish)
- NIMH – Mental Health Medications
- NIMH – Technology and the Future of Mental Health Treatment
- NIMH – Psychotherapies
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) – Treatment Considerations for Youth and Youth Adults with Serious Emotional Disturbances and Serious Mental Illnesses and Co-occurring Substance Use
- SAMHSA – Treatment of Suicide Ideation, Self-Harm, and Suicide Attempts Among Youth
Mental Health Support and Intervention
Supportive services, including crisis intervention services, help coordinate behavioral health services with healthcare, as well as services related to housing, employment, education, and other supports. Examples include recovery support systems and Assertive Community Treatment (ACT). Adolescents with mental health disorders may be entitled to educational accommodations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act through 12th grade. Furthermore, many colleges also offer free counseling or referral services to enrolled students free of charge.
Find supportive and crisis intervention services
- Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) – Balanced Mind Parent Network
- DBSA – Find a Local Support Group
- National Institute of Mental Health – Help for Mental Illnesses
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) – Support Section for Teens and Young Adults
- NAMI – OK2Talk (a moderated online community for teens and young adults)
- NAMI – Support Section for Families and Caregivers
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) – Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator
- SAMHSA – Early Serious Mental Illness Treatment Locator
- SAMHSA – Suicide Prevention Resource Center
If you or anyone you know is experiencing suicidal crisis or emotional distress, reach out for help.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 1-800-273-8255 for English or 1-888-628-9454 for Spanish to be connected to the nearest crisis center for 24/7, free, and confidential support. For deaf or hard of hearing individuals, use your preferred relay service or dial 711 then 1-800-273-8255. Lifeline Chat also connects individuals with counselors for emotional support and other services via web chat.
- SAMHSA’s National Helpline: Call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) for free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service in English and Spanish. For deaf or hard of hearing individuals, dial 1-800-487-4889.
- Crisis Text Line: Text SIGNS to 741741 for 24/7, anonymous, free crisis counseling.