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Mental Health Resource Center

Expert information and resources to help teens and young adults navigate Iife's challenges

Get Help Now

If you or someone you know needs help immediately, take one of the following actions

Call 2-1-1
for Immediate Emergency Services

Call 800-273-8255 
for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline


Alameda County

Contra Costa County


SAFE to 20121

HOPE to 20121

Resources for Parents

Treatment Programs & Centers

Suicide Prevention

Call the Kristen Brooks Hope Center at 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433) for help, 24-hours a day, 7 days a week.

Alcohol & Drug Rehabilitation

Evolve Treatment Centers, accredited by CARF and The Joint Commission, offers the highest caliber of evidence-based treatment for teens, 12 to 17 years old, who struggle with mental health, substance abuse, and/or behavioral issues. Evolve offers a full continuum of care in California, including Intensive Outpatient (IOP)Partial Hospitalization (PHP), and Residential Treatment Centers (RTC). For more information and to speak with an admissions counselor, call (866) 205-0862.

AddictionCenter - Substance Abuse Resources

For more information, please contact Hannah Freeman at (800) 586-9670.

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What Can I Do if I Think My Teen is Depressed?

Talk to your teen about your concerns.

There may be a specific cause for why he or she is acting a certain way. Opening up the lines of communication lets your teenager know you care and that you are available to talk about the situation.

Also, talk to your pediatrician or family physician if you have concerns about your teen regarding depression.

Your provider may be able to discuss the situation with your teen, rule out a medical reason for the behavior, recommend a counselor, or prescribe medication.

Lastly, DO NOT ignore the signs or symptoms of depression.

Depression is treatable and there is help available for both you and your teen. If left untreated, depression can lead to thoughts of suicide or even the act itself.

If your teen talks about suicide or attempts suicide, get help IMMEDIATELY.

Your local community should have a 24-hour crisis hotline for mental health emergencies.

Resources for Teens

What is depression?

Depression is an illness with many causes and many forms. It is a disorder of someone’s moods or emotions; it is not an attitude that someone can “control” or “snap out of,” but it is treatable with counseling and/or medication.

What is teen depression?

Depression is a condition that affects approximately 5% of children and teens at any given time, according to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. Depression can cause problems such as difficulties in school, difficulties with relationships, and general decreased enjoyment of life. At its worst, depression can lead to suicide, one of the leading causes of death for teens in the United States.

Please take the time to educate yourself on this important and difficult subject for the health and happiness of your teen.

What are the symptoms of teen depression?

  • Sad or depressed mood
  • Feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness
  • Loss of interest in things he or she used to enjoy
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Crying
  • Inability to sleep, or sleeping too much
  • Loss of appetite, or increased appetite
  • Aches and pains that don’t go away, even with treatment
  • Irritability
  • Feeling tired despite getting enough sleep
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Thoughts of suicide, talk of suicide, or suicide attempts

What causes depression?

There are thought to be many causes of depression. There are most likely many factors behind who develops depression and who doesn’t, and these factors are no different for teens.

Traumatic Life Event, such as the loss of a loved one or pet, divorce or remarriage. Any event that causes distress or trauma, or even just a major change in lifestyle, can trigger depression.

Social Situation/Family Circumstances. Unfortunately, there are teens who live under difficult circumstances. Domestic violencesubstance abuse, poverty or other family issues can cause stress and depression in a teen.

Genetics/Biology. It has been found that depression runs in families and that there is a genetic basis for depression. Keep in mind, though, that teens who have depression in their family will not necessarily get the illness, and teens without a history of depression in their family can still get the disorder.

Medical Conditions. Occasionally, depression is a sign of another medical illness, such as hypothyroidism, PMS (premenstrual syndrome) or other disorders.

Medications/Illegal Drugs. Some legal, prescription medications can have depression as a side effect. Certain illegal drugs (street drugs) can also cause depression.

What is teen bullying?

Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance.

The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems.

In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:

  • An imbalance of power. Kids who bully use their power—such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity—to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people.
  • Repetition. Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.
  • Bullying behaviors. Bullying includes making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.

For more information, check these resources:

What can I do if I think I'm depressed?

If you are having thoughts of self-harm, know that you don’t have to deal with your difficult thoughts and feelings alone. There are many ways to get help, support and guidance from people who are available to you 24/7.

  • Counselors at hotlines
  • Crisis centers
  • Emergency rooms

They are there to listen, support, understand and help.

If you’re feeling suicidal, please call 911 or a hotline, call campus police/security, or go to the emergency department at the nearest hospital.

If you are having thoughts of suicide, consider doing the following:

  • Reach out to someone you feel you can trust. It might help you feel less alone and overwhelmed if you talk about your feelings.
  • Make an appointment at the campus counseling center or with a health care provider. Ask to be seen as soon as possible even if you feel your situation is not an emergency. Don't put off talking about your struggles – the sooner you find support and guidance, the better.
  • Connect to an academic advisor or a religious/faith counselor. Most faith and academic professionals have access to resources to get you help.

Remember: With time and support, it can get better. 

Even if suicidal thoughts and impulses come and go (or even go away), they signal a serious problem and getting help is the best way to get better and heal.