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confidential help for young people

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Below are national hotline numbers that young people can call to get help: They are confidential and can provide good listeners and ways to get local help.

If you are worried about a friend, or if you would like to talk with someone - confidentially - about your own angry thoughts or thoughts of suicide, here are two numbers to call:

1-888-suicide - This is a number for all serious concerns and, in many states, will connect you to a local help-line when there is one in your city or state.
1-800-999-9999 - This is a New York-based national hotline for all concerns that you may have. There is also a separate number for the hearing impaired: 1-800-999-9915.

Both are confidential. Both can be accessed from any phone, including pay phones.

Many communities have hotlines that you can access either through 1-888-suicide or through local information (411) and ask for a mental health or suicide hotline.

And here is more:

If you have a friend who is thinking and talking about violence--such as hurting others or him or herself--don't wait. Tell an adult you trust such as your parent(s), a teacher, counselor, school psychologist, clergy or any person you think will listen and help. If you can't tell an adult for whatever reason, call a hotline and share your thoughts, feelings and concerns. They will help you help your friend. There are many phone hotlines and most of them are free. True friends know that getting help can save a friend's life or prevent hurt to others. Friends who have gone to a trusted adult say that their friendships have became even stronger. Heroes are people who save a life!

When you feel angry, alone and trapped you can get help. Either tell an adult you can trust or call a youth hotline. Depression can make people feel this way--it's an illness like diabetes or high blood pressure--and it's treatable. But without help, depression can make you feel like hurting yourself or others and make it hard to think of ways to solve problems. Without help, it's hard to feel happy.

Many people don't realize that young people can be depressed. They may say, "Get over it, look at the bright side," but you can't. And it's not your fault! You didn't make yourself depressed and neither did your friends or family. They may not yet understand what you're going through but they will be relieved when they see you are getting help you need.

Be a true friend to yourself or someone you care about. When uncomfortable feelings interfere with your life or that of a friend, know they are real and reach out for help.

[The above information was prepared by an expert with the National Association of School Psychologists, an organization involved in helping young people with their questions and problems.]

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