NAMI Santa Clara County recognizes that adolescents and young adults or Transition Aged Youth (TAY – ages 16-26) often have unique mental health needs and issues. We have compiled these resources just for you!
You Are Not Alone!
Adolescence and young adulthood is a time of self-discovery when you are learning and growing in your independence. Everyone around you is doing the same and trying to prove to their families and themselves that they are ready for the next stage in life. When you encounter mental health symptoms during this time, it is easy to look around and think you are the only one struggling. Statistics reveal that this is not the case. You are not alone! Mental health conditions are common among teens and young adults.
Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in people aged 10-34.
Every 100 minutes a teen dies by suicide.
50% all mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24.
However, mental illnesses are medical conditions that can be treated. With early intervention, you can find your way to wellness and recovery.
- Excessive worrying or fear
- Feeling excessively sad or low
- Confused thinking or problems concentrating and learning
- Extreme mood changes, including uncontrollable “highs” or feelings of euphoria
- Prolonged or strong feelings of irritability or anger
- Avoiding friends and social activities
- Difficulties understanding or relating to other people
- Changes in sleeping habits or feeling tired and low energy
- Changes in eating habits such as increased hunger or lack of appetite
- Changes in sex drive
- Difficulty perceiving reality (delusions or hallucinations, in which a person experiences and senses things that don’t exist in objective reality)
- Inability to perceive changes in one’s own feelings, behavior or personality (”lack of insight” or anosognosia)
- Overuse of substances like alcohol or drugs
- Multiple physical ailments without obvious causes (such as headaches, stomach aches, vague and ongoing “aches and pains”)
- Thinking about suicide
- Inability to carry out daily activities or handle daily problems and stress
- An intense fear of weight gain or concern with appearance
Virtual You provides support and services to the youth and young adults in our communities by increasing awareness, engaging youth, and increasing skills.
This is a FREE SERVICE and is open to all youth and young adults, regardless of their insurance.
Asking for Help
Mental health conditions develop for complicated reasons that researchers are only just beginning to understand. While the causes are still being studied, we do know a lot about how you can manage your mental health symptoms so that you can live well.
Due to the lack of early intervention services and stigma surrounding mental health treatment, young people often do not reach our health social service or justice systems until their mental health problems have become more severe, and often more difficult and costly to treat. Many people suffer with symptoms for 8-10 years before seeking treatment. Early intervention reduces recovery time and increases your ability to effectively manage your symptoms.
It’s important to speak up and ask for help so that you can start your recovery today. Here are some helpful tips on how to start a conversation with someone you trust and how to communicate with your mental health professional. Click on images below for details.
Making Your Parents Allies
Your parents may find it difficult to understand and/or accept that you are having troubling mental health symptoms. Learning how to speak to them so that they can hear you and providing them with sources of education about mental health can help bridge this communication gap. Having family support can have a powerful, positive effect on your mental health. Parents can be trained to become your persuasive, influential advocates.
Some youth have reported that it was helpful to share stories of other people with mental health conditions with their parents. The Stories of Hope section above has links to stories that you can share with your family to help them understand what you are going through.
You may also consider talking to a school counselor or another trusted adult and asking that person to accompany you when you talk to your parents. Having an adult to assist with advocating for your needs may help your parents take your concerns seriously.
Encourage your family to take one of NAMI’s Family Education Classes.
NAMI offers educations classes that will help your family understand your mental health condition. Many people find that their families become more empathetic advocates as a result of these classes.
Your family members can call our Warmline at 408-453-0400, x1 to find out more or sign up.
How to Help a Friend
With 50% of young people reporting that they have experienced symptoms of a mental health condition, you are likely to be friends with someone who is struggling. The good news is that there are many resources to assist you with supporting these friends.
NAMI’s How to Help a Friend provides information about warning signs, how to share your concerns and offer support, including a student guide poster with tips that you can print and post at your high school, in your college dorm or elsewhere.
ULifeline provides a guide to tell how to tell if a friend is struggling, including what signs to look for on social media.
Seize The Awkward highlights warning signs, stories of how concerned friends had a positive impact, conversation starters, follow up questions and actions you can take to continue supporting your friend.
Being connected to others who can understand and empathize with your experiences can be powerful and healing. Other people with mental health conditions can share coping skills and offer compassionate you support. Here are some resources. Call NAMI Warm Line at 408-453-0400 option 1 Mon – Fri 10am-6pm for more information and learn about other local resources for youth in our county.
Selecting Treatment Professionals
For teens, we recommend talking to your parents first and having them assist you with selecting treatment professionals as their insurance will determine which professionals you have access to.
For young adults, we have some excellent resources on our Finding Treatment page to get you started. Be sure to read the tips for finding the right care section. You find useful information including the following:
- Tips on Finding the Right Therapist for Teens
- How to get insurance to cover denied claims
- Checklist to bring to the appointment. Download, complete this useful checklist from Mental Health America before your appointment with your doctor. You can use this to remind you of what to talk to the doctor and help you keep track of your progress.
Our Warmline Assistants are also available to help you with this process. Just give them a call at 408-453-0400, x1 Mon-Fri 10am – 6pm
Middle School and High School
If you are in Middle School or High School, you have the right to request accommodations if your mental health symptoms impact your ability to learn, attend school or complete schoolwork. There are different types of plans with different types of services depending on your needs.
504 plans: The accommodations under 504 plan are limited but may be suitable for children who may only need few modifications. Modifications may include taking the test in a separate setting, extended time to complete assignments and tests, frequent breaks etc.Here is a list of 504 accomodations you can request from your school (www.wrightslaw). To learn about 504 plan, click here.
Individualized Education Plans (IEPs): IEP sets learning goals and provides services which may include therapeutic support in the classroom, academic support, modifications to class curriculum, transition planning. IEP is especially useful for students whose mental illness causes behavioral issues, school avoidance or other conditions that impair their ability to attend school and/or their academic abilities. Learn more about special education here.
How to Request a 504 or IEP
Your parents will need to be involved in this process, so we recommend talking to them first. There are lots of resources available to help you and your parents. If you are having difficulty getting support from your parents, see our “Making Your Parents Allies” resources above.
Our NAMI Basics class for parents contains some information about Special Education Services. Call our Warmline at 408-453-0400, option 1 to find out more or sign up for the class.
NAMI Santa Clara County’s Warmline Assistants are available to answer questions and connect your parents with helpful resources. They are available Monday through Friday, 10am – 6pm.
Parents Helping Parents 408-727-5775 or toll free 855-727-5775 Parents Helping Parents is a local, Santa Clara County based organization that educates and assists parents with advocating for special education services. We highly recommend contacting them if you plan to request services from your school.
College brings new freedoms, new opportunities and new responsibilities. Transitioning to college introduces challenges for anyone. Classes are more demanding and the need for time management and study skills increases. Additionally, you will be spending lots of time and energy making new friends and building a new support system for yourself. With all these exciting changes, it’s not surprising that half of all college students report experiencing concerning mental health symptoms. There are some things you can do to plan ahead if you are already aware that you have a mental health condition. The following websites offer a variety of resources to prepare for this exciting yet stressful transition.
NAMI National “Managing a Mental Health Condition in College” NAMI National addresses topics such as selecting a school that’s right for you as well as how to access resources and take of yourself upon your arrival on the campus of your choice.
Mental Health America Life On Campus– For students in college, Mental Health America has developed Back to Campus materials and an accompanying toolkit that provides parents and young adults with helpful information and resources.
ULifeLine A mental health resource center that offers college students information about emotional health issues and the resources available on their campus. It also offers a confidential mental health self-screening tool. Use their search tool to look up the contact info for the counseling centers at the schools you are considering.
Now Matters Now – A great website to learn skills and find support for coping with suicidal thoughts. It has videos to teach mindfulness and DBT skills that have been proven to help people considering suicide.
Anxiety in Teens Anxiety In Teens, a 501(c)3 non-profit, was founded in 2006 in Minneapolis, MN. Founder and Executive Director Solome Tibebu dealt with a severe anxiety disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder throughout middle school and high school, feeling alone and frustrated. Anxiety in Teens Contributors are part of a nationwide community to help youth and help one another.
Go Ask Alice!: Geared at young adults, this question and answer website contains a large database of questions about a variety of concerns surrounding emotional health.
Jed Foundation: Promoting emotional health and prevent suicide among college students, this website provides an online resource center, ULifeline, a public dialogue forum, Half of Us, and Transition Year, resources and tools to help students transition to college and also to help friends who are struggling
Mindfulness for Teens: This website has resources to help teens use mindfulness to handle stress and includes apps to practice meditation and guided mediation recordings.
TeenCentral is a website powered by KidsPeace as a free and safe prevention and intervention resource specifically for youth. On TeenCentral, you can find information on a variety of topics. You can also submit a story or post about any crisis, problem or situation you’re struggling with and receive a therapeutic support response within 24 hours, safely, anonymously, and free of charge.
There are so many Mental Health apps out there these days! If you plan to use one, make sure that they do not share any of the personal data you will be recording in the app. For app reviews visit one of the following sites.
Reach Out.com’s Tools and Apps page contains reviews on apps including user ratings, goals of the apps and methods the app employs. Reach Out.com is an Australian online mental health organization for young people and their parents.
TeenzTalk’s Tools for Well-Being page contains a list of apps by topic to try.
There are many organizations doing great work to end the stigma surrounding mental health. You may find it healing and empowering to get involved with what they are doing. Here are just a few.
Active Minds is a nonprofit that empowers college students to speak openly about mental health, Active Minds aims to educate others and encourage help-seeking.
Bring Change to Mind – Bring Change to Mind is a nonprofit organization, co-founded by actress and activist Glenn Close, dedicated to encouraging dialogue about mental health.
California Youth Empowerment Network (CAYEN) – CAYEN engages youth and young adults who been touched in some way by the mental health, juvenile justice or foster care systems with a goal is to develop, improve and strengthen the voice of Transition Age Youth (TAY) in local and state-level policy to create positive change in the mental health system.
The Jason Foundation, Inc. (JFI) is dedicated to the prevention of the “Silent Epidemic” of youth suicide through educational and awareness programs that equip young people, educators/youth workers and parents with the tools and resources to help identify and assist at-risk youth.
Young Minds Advocacy (est. 2012) is a nonprofit organization founded to address the number one health issue facing young people and their families—unmet mental health needs. Using a blend of policy research and advocacy, impact litigation, and strategic communications, we work to change attitudes towards mental illness and break down barriers to quality mental healthcare for young people and their families.
Statistics on this page are provided by National Institute of Mental Health, www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics