TEENS

Teens are the future.

Your experiences make you unique, even the very tough ones. We’re here to help you find your way through it.

No one has the right to hurt you.

Your teen years can be an amazing time of growth, learning and building dreams for the future. Trauma, such as abuse and neglect or other Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) that occur during childhood or adolescence, can have a serious impact on your development and maybe even get in the way of your dreams.

Childhelp stays informed of the scientific research about adolescent brain development, trauma-responsive care, and the importance of normalcy on the well-being of young people. You deserve safety, peace, and the tools to feel secure. That is why we’ve created this space for YOU to learn more about what makes you who you are, how you can be empowered with knowledge, and ways you can live up to your limitless potential.

Sometimes, a cell phone or laptop can be your lifeline. Technology is an important part of normalcy for teens, and the purpose of the Childhelp text/chat hotline and this website is to provide access to information, education, and emotional support in a safe and confidential environment. Whether you are researching for a friend, trying to learn more about an issue weighing on your heart, or just need a helpful voice on the other end of the line, we are here for you.

AN ABUSER’S BEST FRIEND IS SILENCE

HELP IS ONE CALL, TEXT, CHAT AWAY

YOUR STORY IS YOUR FIRST STEP

LET’S TALK

“…thank you very much for all the resources you’ve been helping me realize are around. I probably would have never found them on my own…”

– 15 year old Non-Binary teen

“You were so helpful today I wish you the best. You really deserve the world just know your actually making a change in the world.”

– Teen girl facing emotional abuse amid domestic violence

“Thank you so much honestly you might be the first person that’s EVER been so helpful and nice. You’re an angel!!!”

– 14 year old girl with history of physical, emotional, sexual abuse in family

“Thank you, I was crying for a bit during this but I feel better now. thank you for being here for me, I really needed your help and I’m so glad that you were here for me.”

– 15 year old genderfluid with emotional abuse and family instability

thank you for talking to me i really wanted to talk about this to someone and i cant trust anyone else

– 15 year old female teen

Thank you. It took alot of pride to get on here and talk about this. i wasnt confident if i should have or not. I really appreciate this. i really needed someone to talk to.

– 16 year old genderfluid teen

We Have Some Featured Topics You Can Check Out…

How do I handle all of this?

We Have Some Featured Topics You Can Check Out…
Browse the topics below for tips on self-care and ways to handle difficult situations.
Featured Topics – Teens

What are Coping Skills?

Coping skills and strategies are the actions and behaviors that help someone deal with difficult situations and the distress they feel as a result. Learn more…

What is Grounding?

Grounding techniques are strategies that can help a person manage their traumatic memories or strong emotions. Learn more…

What is Gaslighting?

Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse where a person or group makes someone question their sanity, perception of reality, or memories. Learn more…

What is Toxic Stress?

Toxic stress is overwhelming and causes us to relive the feelings of fear, anxiety, and negative emotions connected to past or present traumatic experiences. Learn more…

Maybe you have some questions…

We’ve compiled a list of some frequently asked questions based on the interactions we have with teenagers just like you. Simply click on the question to see the answer.
Who do I report child abuse to?
Every state has an agency that investigates child abuse and neglect that occurs within the home. Sometimes, they are called Child Protective Services (CPS) or Department of Child Safety (DCS), but their main job is to provide help to families and keep children safe. You can find the reporting number for your state HERE or contact the Childhelp hotline to talk through a situation.
How do I know if I am being emotionally abused?
Emotional abuse can be complicated. Typically, it is a pattern of behavior or verbal actions that impair a child’s emotional development and sense of safety. Examples of emotional abuse can include harsh criticism or degradation, threats, rejection, or withholding love/support. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to prove emotional abuse, and each state has different policies for how to investigate or intervene. But that does not mean someone cannot get help for the pain that emotional abuse can cause, so do not hesitate to reach out for help from a trusted adult or contact the hotline to speak to a counselor.
I want to go live with my friend’s parents/other family, can I do that?
Parents have a right to the care and custody of their children so they would have to give their consent for this to happen. However, in situations of abuse, Child Protective Services (CPS) may work with a family to determine arrangements that keep everyone safe.
What will happen if I run away?
Running away can be dangerous. If you are under 18, the police will most likely require you to go back home unless there is clear evidence that there is a risk of immediate harm or serious injury to a child. If you are being abused, it is important to notify the police/Child Protective Services (CPS) of the abuse so that an investigation can take place. Another great resource that provides confidential advice and referrals to local support is the National Runaway Safeline: call 1-800-786-2929 or text 66008.
Can my parents take away my devices?

Yes, parents do have a right to take away devices or determine privileges.

When can I be emancipated?
Emancipation is a legal process that releases both the rights and the responsibilities of the care and custody of a child from their parents. Each state has a process for a minor to apply for emancipation from their parents . Generally there are certain requirements that must be met so that a judge can determine if it is appropriate to terminate a parent’s rights and responsibilities; the minor may be required to show that they can care for themselves and handle the responsibility of secure housing and financial stability. The application process can take awhile, so keep that in mind if you are close to the age of 18. You can search online for the details of the emancipation process for the state you live in .
I have a friend online and I think they are being abused, but I do not know where they live. How can I help them?

If you gather more information such as the state they live in, the school they attend, or their address, then we can help you find the appropriate agency to make a report to. You could also try to encourage your friend to talk to a safe adult (relative, teacher, coach) or encourage them to contact the hotline so that a counselor can help them explore their options in a safe and confidential way.

Will my parents go to jail?
Situations of extreme physical abuse and sexual abuse may involve criminal charges. For the majority of child abuse reports, Child Protective Services (CPS) will work with a family to offer support and resources to reduce incidents of abuse and neglect.
Will I be put in foster care if I make a report?
Child Protective Services (CPS) uses removal from a home as a last resort and it is considered when there is evidence of serious danger to the life and health of a child. Typically, they will try to keep families together by providing services in the home and monitoring the situation. It is dependent on state laws and regulations but their primary goal is to keep children safe.
Do I have to give my name when I call Child Protective Services (CPS)?

Many states will take an anonymous report, but it would be important to ask that question when you call. If they do not allow anonymous reporting, you can also ask how your identity can be kept confidential.

I’m a minor and an adult online just sent me some pornographic pictures, what do I do?

This is illegal and there are a few things that you can do. Depending on the platform you are on, you should report the person/profile directly to the site you are on. If you know who they are you can contact the local authorities. If you do not know their identity, you can contact The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678 or fill out an online form at cybertip.org.

This can be a scary situation to handle, so reaching out to an adult that you trust is also recommended.

I sent someone private pictures of myself but now they are threatening to post them on the internet/tell my parents unless I send more, what do I do?
This is illegal and the person making the threats should be reported to the authorities. We strongly encourage you to talk to your parents/guardian and have them help you contact law enforcement. If you know the person’s identity you can contact the authorities. Whether you know their identity or not, you can call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678 or fill out an online form at cybertip.org.
Will Child Protective Services (CPS) do anything if my parents are on drugs?
Parental substance abuse is included in the definition of child abuse or neglect in many states, especially when it is related to the following circumstances: lack of supervision or adequate care of the child, exposing a child to dangerous substances or items, and manufacturing drugs in the presence of a child. Contact your local Child Protective Services (CPS) for additional details if you are concerned about a child.
I think a neighbor is abusing their kids, do I call the police or Child Protective Services (CPS)?
Police are the correct option if you think a child is in immediate danger since they are the quickest emergency response. You can also contact Child Protective Services (CPS) to discuss the situation and see if they can conduct an investigation with the family.
I am over the age of 18 but I still live in a home with my parents and they are abusive, what can I do?
Typically, Child Protective Services (CPS) can only intervene with youth under the age of 18. If you are being physically harmed the police would be an appropriate option to address safety. Each state also has programs that can help young adults find housing, job placement, or other support services. Contact the hotline to talk with a counselor about finding those support programs.

I want to learn more.

Click on each of the 3rd party resources tabs below to see some of the additional resources we are happy to share.

Additional Resources Available

Mental Health Apps

Digital media and technology are often lifelines for many teens and young adults. There has been an increase in the number of digital health tools available, particularly related to mental health. While none of these are designed to replace therapy when needed, here are some apps that could be useful tools for individuals seeking additional support using available technology.

Disclaimer:
The apps here are not affiliated with or specifically endorsed by Childhelp. This list is an example of the various options that are available publicly; please use your discretion to determine the app that best meets your needs.


Mindshift

Ages: 4+
Price: Free
Link: https://www.anxietycanada.com

Description: Mindshift offers anxiety relief strategies and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) tools to help reduce worry, stress, and panic. The app offers techniques like writing in journals, building fear ladders, and doing comfort zone challenges. The app also offers goals setting, progress check-ins, practice mindful techniques, calming audio.


HappiMe

Ages: Green icon is for ages 4-11, the blue icon is for ages 11-17, and the red icon is for adults 18+.
Price: The younger children and young people version of the apps are free. However, the adult version (red app) is $2.99.
Link: https://www.happi-me.info

Description: Through the power of positive thinking, HappiMe focuses on increasing self-esteem, self-confidence, and overall happiness. Great for children and adults.


Calm Harm

Ages: 12+
Price: Free
Link: https://calmharm.co.uk/

Description: The Calm Harm app can help support a teen resist or manage the urge to self-harm using evidence-based therapy principles of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) focusing on Comfort, Distract, Express Yourself, Release, Random and Breathe activities. You can personalise the app to track your progress and changes.


Sanvello

Ages: 12+
Price: Free (Paid version available)
Link: https://www.sanvello.com

Description: Sanvello offers therapy, coaching, self-care tools, and a supportive community. Sanvello uses clinically proven techniques based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for dealing with stress, anxiety, depression, trauma-related conditions, and daily stressors.


What’s Up?

Ages: 12+
Price: Free (Paid version available)
Link: https://apps.apple.com/whats-up-app

Description: This app uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Acceptance Commitment Therapy methods to help users cope with depression, anxiety, anger, stress, and more. The app also allows users to create a passcode for safety and security purposes.


Woebot

Ages: 12+
Price: Free
Link: https://woebothealth.com/

Description: Woebot can help you with thinking through situations with step-by-step guidance from Woebot using tools from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) through a 24/7 quick chat. Woebot sends over a million messages per week to help users with everyday stress and challenges.


Talkspace

Ages: 12+
Price: Free (Paid therapy available)
Link: https://try.talkspace.com/

Description: Talkspace can match you with a licensed therapist in your state from the comfort of your device through text, audio, and video at any time, and they will respond daily, 5x/week. If you’re looking for the “face-to-face” therapy experience, this app offers Live Video Sessions so you and your therapist can plan to connect in real-time.


BetterHelp

Ages: 12+
Price: Free (Counseling services may require additional costs)
Link: https://www.betterhelp.com

Description: The BetterHelp app is a convenient way to get professional help from licensed therapists and counselors online. BetterHelp counselors can cover a wide range of areas from depression and anxiety to family and couples therapy. A counselor will be matched based on your needs. Message your therapist anytime from anywhere. No scheduling needed.


My3

Ages: 4+
Price: Free
Link: https://my3app.org/

Description: My3 allows one to stay connected to their network when in a time of crisis. You can be prepared to help yourself and reach out to others when you are feeling suicidal. The app offers services that allow you to create your own support system, create a safety plan, get support, and allows 24/7 access to the National Suicide Hotline.


My Life My Voice

Ages: 12+
Price: Free
Link: https://www.yourlifeyourvoice.org

Description: This mood journal offers a simple solution for tracking your thoughts, feelings and moods in this interactive tool you can keep right on your phone! Add details to your entry by writing, recording your voice, or attaching a photo about what’s going on. You can review a report of your tracked moods over a period of time, and get tips on ways improve your mood!


Mindful Gnats

Ages: 12+
Price: Free
Link: http://www.mindfulgnats.com

Description: Mindful Gnats is an app designed to teach young people simple mindfulness and relaxation skills. It can be used to help mindfulness practice when playing the Mindful Gnats desktop game or as a stand alone aid to mindful practice. These skills can help to reduce stress, and improve awareness of your body, mind and world.


SmilingMind

Ages: 12+
Price: Free
Link: https://www.smilingmind.com.au/

Description: SmilingMind is a modern daily mindfulness and meditation guide app for young people. It is a free web and App-based program, designed by psychologists and educators to help bring balance to young lives. Smiling Mind is aimed at helping young people de-stress and stay calm. There are tailored programs for different age groups.


CBT Thought Diary

Ages: 12+
Price: Free (In-app purchases available)
Link: https://cbtthoughtdiary.com/

Description: CBT Thought Diary can be used as a daily mood tracker. With this app, you can gradually change your approach to how you interpret the ups and downs of life, making long-lasting changes in your mental well-being.


Atlas Co

Ages: 12+
Price: Free
Link: https://www.atlasmh.com/

Description: Atlas is a wellness journaling app dedicated to helping you live the good life through self-improvement via podcasts and journaling for teens. This app helps you pursue purpose, find connections, know your authentic self, and navigate an uncertain future.


Happify

Ages: 12+
Price: Free (In-app purchases available)
Link: https://www.happify.com/

Description: Uplifting app providing evidence-based exercises, daily articles, and fun games with great graphics to help you overcome negative thoughts, set goals, and improve your mood.

 

Other Hotlines

Childhelp National Child Abuse hotline is one of many incredible organizations that can provide crisis referrals, confidential guidance, and warm support when you need some help. Reach out.

The Trevor Project – LGBTQ Youth helpline – 24/7 Phone, text, chat, social media support
The Trevor Project provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25. Contact by phone: 1-866-488-7386 or visit their website at thetrevorproject.org

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 24/7 Phone & online chat
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24/7. They can help friends and loved ones by providing resources, empowering individuals, and building awareness. Contact by phone: 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or visit their website at suicidepreventionlifeline.org

National Domestic Violence Hotline – 24/7 Phone & online chat
The Hotline provides free, confidential, and compassionate support, crisis intervention information, education, and referral services to those affected by relationship abuse. Contact by phone: 1-800-799-7233 or visit their website at thehotline.org

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children – 24/7 Phone + Online report access
(NCMEC) is a comprehensive reporting center that assists with preventing child abductions, recovering missing children, and providing services to deter and combat child sexual exploitation. Contact by phone: 1-800-843-5678 or visit their website at missingkids.org

RAINN-Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (Sexual Assault hotline) – 24/7 Phone & online chat
RAINN provides one-on-one support and resources to sexual assault victims, survivors, and their loved ones. Contact by phone: 1-800-656-4673 or visit their website at rainn.org

National Runaway Safeline – 24/7 Phone & online chat
The Runaway Safeline is free, anonymous, confidential hotline available to run away and homeless youth, their parents and families, teens in crisis, and others who might benefit from its services. Contact by phone: 1-800-786-2929 or visit their website at 1800runaway.org

National Human Trafficking Hotline – 24/7 Phone, text, & online chat + online report form
The Human Trafficking Hotline can help trafficking victims and survivors connect to the services and resources they need. Contact by phone: 1-888-373-7888 or text 233733 or visit their website at humantraffickinghotline.org

Boystown USA – Your Life Your Voice Helpline – 24/7 Phone & text
Boystown is a crisis, resource and referral hotline available to both parents and kids. They can offer kids and teens support, guidance and resources, and tips, parenting advice and resources to parents. Contact by phone: 1-800-448-3000 or text VOICE to 20121 or visit their website at boystown.org

StrongHearts Native Helpline – 24/7 Phone and chat
StrongHearts Native Helpline is a 24/7 safe, confidential and anonymous domestic, dating and sexual violence helpline for American Indians and Alaska Natives, offering culturally-appropriate support and advocacy. Contact by phone: 1-844-762-8483 or visit their website at strongheartshelpline.org

Love is Respect – National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline – 24/7 Phone, text, & online chat
The National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline offers confidential support for teens, young adults, and their loved ones seeking help, resources, or information related to healthy relationships and dating abuse. Contact by phone: 1-866-331-9474 or text LOVEIS to 22522 or visit their website at loveisrespect.org

LGBTQIA+ National Help Center
The LGBT Help Center serves the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning community by providing free and confidential peer support and local resources. Contact by phone on their Youth Talkline: 1-800-246-7743 or their All Ages Hotline: 1-888-843-4564 or visit their website at glbtnationalhelpcenter.org

Crisis Text Line – 24/7 Text
Crisis Text Line provides free mental health texting service through confidential crisis intervention via SMS message. Text HOME to 741741 or visit their website at crisistextline.org

 
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