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Get Help Early

Staying well strategies are always a good first step in keeping good mental health. But if you are seeing signs that changes in your thoughts, emotions, or actions have been going on for more than a few weeks, and are impacting you negatively, it is time to seek out support. But how do you ask for support? And from whom?

How do you ask for help?

Asking for help seems like a big step, but it isn’t as hard as it seems. Once you have decided to ask, and have an idea of who you will approach, it is a matter of finding a few words to start off with. The rest usually falls into place because you are then sharing the burden with a caring adult.

Here are some conversation starters:

“I haven’t been feeling well lately and I think I need some help.”

“Things haven’t been going well for me. I need some help to turn things around.”

“I can’t seem to get past the feelings I’m having. I wanted to reach out before things got worse.”

“I don’t know if you can help me, but I’m hoping you can help me to find someone who can. I’m worried that I have a problem with my mental health.”

“I’m not good at asking for help, and I wish I didn’t have to, but I don’t think I can handle this alone. Can you help me?”

Where can I ask for help?

There are many options when it comes to getting help for your mental health. Here is a listing below.

If you need immediate help, here are some options:

  • Call 911
  • Speak with a counsellor 24/7 by calling Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868 or texting CONNECT to 686868

  • Talk to your parent(s) and ask to make an appointment with your family doctor.
  • Talk to your teacher, guidance counsellor or another adult you trust at school.
  • Speak with a counsellor 24/7 by calling Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868 or texting CONNECT to 686868.
  • Use Kids Help Phone Resources Around Me tool to find free or low cost services near you.
  • Download the Be Safe App.
  • Check out this list of other services.

And even after you ask for help, try to keep up the Staying Well strategies. Sometimes it takes a while to get professional supports in place. Here are some other reminders of things you can do while you wait for help:

  • Get sleep. We know school starts early and you may like staying up late, so you might not get enough sleep all the time. But aim to get 8 or more hours of sleep most nights. Here are some tips on how to improve your sleep.
  • Try to increase your water intake – carry a water bottle with you so you can stay hydrated through the day. Consider decreasing or discontinuing your caffeine intake – caffeine has been shown to create a stress reaction in your body and might cause you to feel nervous, irritable or restless.
  • Fuel yourself well. As a student, you are under a lot of stress at times, be mindful of the types of foods you eat. Sometimes it helps to have a healthy snack nearby so you can refuel easily and avoid getting “hangry”.
  • Try to limit screen time. Research has linked social media use with mental health issues – you’ve probably heard this before. Using social media can cause us to compare ourselves… we do this without noticing, so it can be hard to stop. Many smartphones let you set timers on apps to help you limit how much you use them. Here’s some more info about how social media impacts our wellness.
  • Prioritize your healthy relationships. Find people in your life who help you to feel good. Notice how you feel after spending time with someone. Sometimes it’s helpful to create boundaries for ourselves and limit contact with people who bring us down or encourage unhealthy behaviour.
  • Move! Physical activity is good for our mental health. It can be as simple as taking a walk. Even better, join an activity at school – it’s a great way to meet people who you can be active with.
  • Try some mindfulness activities. Your teachers may have taught you some deep breathing exercises, or maybe you’ve joined a yoga class. What about meditation? Here’s some information on mindfulness for teens.
  • Get curious. Learn more about your mental and physical health. It’s a fascinating area of study (yes, we’re biased…). Recognize this is your life, and you can learn to improve your experience.

The Get Info section of the Kids Help Phone website has a lot of information about everyday mental health support and detailed tips on specific topics.