Mental Health Backpack – Day 1

All resources are free and confidential. 


What is Mental Health? 

“Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. Over the course of your life, if you experience mental health problems, your thinking, mood, and behavior could be affected. Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including: 1) biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry, 2) life experiences, such as trauma or abuse, and 3) family history of mental health problems”

Below is a list of some, but not all, common mental health challenges. All information and resources below are free and confidential.

Anxiety – What do I do if I’m feeling anxious?

All individuals experience anxiety sometimes, but  if it is starting to interfere with your daily life, you might want to ask an adult you trust, like a parent, guardian, aunt or uncle, grandparent, or older sibling or cousin. You can also ask your doctor, your teacher, or a school counselor for help. You can learn more about symptoms here.

You can learn more about symptoms, techniques for how to manage anxiety, and information on where and how to get help here. You can also download the Clear Fear app, which may help you manage symptoms of anxiety.

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) – What should I do if I can’t focus or pay attention?

You can learn more about ADHD symptoms and treatments for teens here. You can find information about symptoms and treatments here.

Autism Spectrum Disorder What do I do if I am autistic or struggling to understand an autistic person who I care about?

There are many symptoms of autism, including difficulty understanding other people’s feelings, repetitive behaviors, intense reactions to sounds, smells, tastes, textures or colors, among others. You can learn more about symptoms of autism, complete screenings, and learn about resources here.

Depression – What do I do if I’m feeling sad? What if I have lost interest in activities I used to enjoy? 

Learn more about some symptoms of depression and resources here. You can also visit this link – this is not diagnostic, but can give you a sense of what symptoms are commonly seen in depression.

Dyslexia – What do I do if I have difficulty learning to read or interpreting words?

You can find resources on dyslexia and ADHD here

Eating Disorders and Body Image – What do I do if I can’t control my eating habits? What if I eat when I’m stressed? What if I feel the need to throw up or exercise a lot every time I eat? What if I consistently don’t feel good about my body?

National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA): The National Eating Disorders Association provides a crisis text line, phone line, and online chat support, as well as screening tools to determine if you might have an eating disorder.  

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – What do I do if I feel the need to control things, or can’t move on with my daily life without doing something multiple times? 

You can learn about symptoms of OCD, how to manage OCD, or how to ask for help here 

PTSD – What do I do if I am having nightmares or panic attacks? What do I do if I experienced something traumatic that I still believe affects me? 

You can find information about PTSD symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment here.

Self Harm – What if I have thoughts of hurting myself?

Here are some things you can do instead of self-harming. You can also download Calm Harm, an app to help you resist or manage the urge to self harm.

Suicidality – What if I have thoughts of ending my life? 

Call or text the Samaritans or National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Make a safety plan and reach out to an adult you trust, like a parent, guardian, aunt or uncle, grandparent, doctor, or school counselor for help.



A special thank you to our interns Malinda J. McPherson and Kristina Vo for their contributions to this project.