Behavioral Health Resources for Preteens and Teens During COVID-19

Without a doubt, we are each facing difficult and unprecedented challenges during  COVID-19. It is normal to feel sad, stressed or angry while coping with COVID-19. In addition to the fear and anxiety surrounding the coronavirus disease, we are also being away from schools, friends and relatives. Adjusting to new ways of learning and working is hard.

But guess what? You are not alone. We can pull through this crisis together. Explore these resources to help support mental and emotional health. 

We are in this together! If you know of any additional resources that should be added, please comment them below or email teens4hope@mhagc.org! 🙂

Hotlines

Answering calls 24/7 and free of charge. Mental Health America of Greenville County volunteers and staff provide a safe place to talk about ANYTHING, regardless of whether someone is currently in crisis, needs information on resources, and/or if crisis intervention is needed.

  • TEENline 

    • Text TEENLINE to 839863 or call 864-467-TEEN

  • CRISISline

    • Text CRISISLINE to 839863 or call 864-271-8888

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 

    • Call 1-800-273-TALK

Tools

Continue reading Behavioral Health Resources for Preteens and Teens During COVID-19

Do you know the warning signs for eating disorders?

Written by Brittany Padilla

Eating disorders encompass a variety of disorders that are continually life threatening to people of all ages. Mrs. Brandi Stalzer from the Eating Recovery Center came and spoke to us during our January meeting. She discussed several distinct eating disorders that the Eating Recovery Center works with. She revealed to us an astounding fact: “Anorexia nervosa is the most deadly mental illness, with a higher mortality (death) rate than any other mental illness.” Mrs. Stalzer was extremely informative; she provided pamphlets and flyers so we can distribute at our schools to raise awareness.

 

Anorexia Nervosa- “is a serious medical and mental health condition that can be life-threatening without treatment.” It’s a restriction of calorie intake due to an immense fear of gaining weight or being fat.

 

Symptoms:

  • An obsessive fear of weight gain
  • Refusal to maintain a healthy body weight
  • Distorted body image
  • Restricting caloric intake
  • Purging calories consumed

Bulimia Nervosa- “is an eating disorder characterized by patterns of bingeing (consuming a large amount of food in a short amount of time) and purging (eliminating calories consumed).”



Symptoms: 

  • Vomiting
  • Laxative use
  • Diuretic use
  • Excessive exercise



Binge Eating Disorder- “Binge eating disorder is commonly confused with bulimia because it involves bingeing. However, unlike bulimia, sufferers do not compensate for the binge by vomiting, abusing laxatives or diuretics, or over-exercising.” 



SOURCES:

https://www.eatingrecoverycenter.com/

https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/learn/by-eating-disorder/anorexia

 

Do you know what dating violence looks like?

Written by Mercedes Purington and Kyrsten Pringle

South Carolina ranks in the top 5 for domestic violence and sexual assault in the nation. The state has also been ranked in the top ten for top deadliest state for women or most women killed by men for the last 21 years (Duncan). These statistics are alarming and detrimental to all the women who live in our beloved state. Our state is facing a crisis against women, which many people are unaware of, but it happens.

Safe Harbor representative Amanda Callahan came to talk to TEENS4Hope at our February meeting to talk about domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and human trafficking, and how it is evident in the state of South Carolina. As teens, entering the world independently and beginning to start dating, it is important to know what a healthy relationship looks like and the warning signs of a bad one. The infographic below depicts signs of a healthy and an unhealthy relationship.

healthy:unhealthy

One of the first steps in changing how we are treated is enforcing and teaching our partners how we expect to be treated. If we continue to let the “unhealthy signs” of our relationship continue, (ie: abuse, control, isolation etc. listed in the picture on the right) it can lead to dating violence.

As many of the us are preparing ourselves for college and others who are heading there soon, sexual assault is a big concern for us as women. One in five women experience sexual assault on college campuses; 19 out of 20 of these cases go unreported. Additionally, about 75% of these cases occur under the influence of alcohol (NSVRC). Going to college is scary, but what makes it scarier is the fear of being violated. A lot of these crimes go unreported, a lot of the cases have bystanders who did nothing about it, and many of the acts are known about by multiple people. When going to college this year, the next, or a few down the road, it is important to be alert and report actions of sexual assault to authorities and go to the hospital if needed to stop these violent crimes against women, before it happens again.

So one of the most common questions is, “what is domestic abuse?” Many people think that domestic violence is purely physical abuse and can be easily seen in a relationship; however, this is simply not true. Oftentimes, women in abusive relationships do not even realize that they are being abused until it is too late. “The common depiction of abuse is black eyes and bruises. That happens, but, it’s important to know domestic violence can take other forms like emotional or psychological, sexual, financial and/or spiritual abuse” (DomesticShelters.org).

Domestic abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of race, gender, nationality, religion, etc. Like I said earlier, around half of women in our country are abused by their partner at some point in their lives, so one of the most important things to know is how to recognize abusive situations.

Women’s Advocates, the first domestic violence shelter in the nation, lists the following as common “red flags” of abusive relationships:

  • Pushing for quick involvement: comes on strong, claiming, “I’ve never felt love like this by anyone.”
  • Jealousy: excessively possessive; calls constantly or visits unexpectedly; prevents you from going to work because “you might meet someone.”
  • Controlling Behavior: interrogates you intensely (especially if you’re late) about whom you talked to and where you were; keeps all the money; insists you ask permission to do anything.
  • Unrealistic expectations: expects you to be the perfect mate and meet his or her every need.
  • Isolation: tries to cut you off from family and friends; accuses people who support you of “causing trouble.”
  • Blaming others for problems or mistakes: it’s always someone else’s fault when anything goes wrong.
  • Making others responsible for his or her feelings: the abuser says, “You make me angry,” instead of “I am angry,” or says, “You’re hurting me by not doing what I tell you.”
  • Hypersensitivity: is easily insulted, claiming hurt feelings when he or she is really mad.
  • Cruelty to animals or children: kills or punishes animals brutally.  Also, may expect children to do things that are far beyond their ability (whips a 3-year-old for wetting a diaper) or may tease them until they cry.
  • Use of force during sex: enjoys throwing you down or holding you down against your will during sex.
  • Verbal abuse: constantly criticizes or says blatantly cruel, hurtful things, degrades, curses, calls you ugly names.
  • Rigid roles: expects you to serve, obey and remain at home.
  • Sudden mood swings: switches from sweet to violent in minutes.
  • Past battering: admits to hitting a mate in the past, but says the person “made” him (or her) do it.
  • Threats of violence: says things like, “I’ll break your neck,” or “I’ll kill you,” and then dismisses them with, “I didn’t really mean it.”
  • Controlling behaviors using social media or technology” (Women’s Advocates).

Domestic violence is not something that only victims should be worried about—If you know someone who is in a domestic violence situation, offer support and provide necessary resources to that person. If you yourself are in an abusive relationship, call 309-343-7233; this is the number for Safe Harbor, a domestic violence shelter. Please know that there are resources and people out there that want to help you.

Ms. Callahan was very informative and educated the members of TEENS4Hope, inspiring us to be a part of the change our state needs. In order to end these heinous acts against women we need to stand up as women, together. If you or someone you know is or has been a victim to the above crimes above please contact the authorities or an adult immediately. If you ever need someone to talk to anonymous and confidential please contact the crisis line or national suicide line at (800) 273-TALK (8255) or TEXT CRISIS LINE TO 839863.

 

South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault defines the following:  

Domestic Violence: the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another

Sexual Assault:  any type of forced or coerced sexual contact or behavior that happens without consent. Sexual assault includes rape and attempted rape, child molestation, groping, forced kissing and sexual harassment or threats. Sexual assault is a crime of power and control.

Dating Violence: the physical, sexual, psychological, or emotional violence within a dating relationship, including stalking. It can occur in person or electronically and might occur between a current or former dating partner. Dating violence affects all age groups, but is often most thought of in connection with teens.

Human Trafficking: modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. As with the aforementioned crimes, trafficking is hidden as victims rarely come forward to seek help because of language barriers, fear of the traffickers, and/or fear of law enforcement.

 

Sources

“Domestic Abuse Topline Facts and Statistics.” DomesticShelters.org, Domesticshelters.org, www.domesticshelters.org/resources/statistics/domestic-abuse-topline-facts-and-statistics.

Duncan, Charles. “South Carolina Tops the List of Deadliest States for Women 21 Years in a Row.” Thestate, The State, 2 Oct. 2018, www.thestate.com/news/state/south-carolina/article219317295.html.

“Get Statistics.” National Sexual Violence Resource Center, www.nsvrc.org/statistics.

“Warning Signs of Abuse.” Women's Advocates, www.wadvocates.org/find-help/about-domestic-violence/warning-signs-of-abuse/. 

What makes you happy?

By Taylor Piver and Laura Summerfield

“The key to being happy is knowing you have the power to choose what to accept and what to let go.” –Dodinsky

This quote is about the choice to let go of the negative things in your life or to accept the beautiful things in it; you can choose what to let go of, such as sad things or things that make you mad, or to accept the happy things in life, such as things that bring you joy or happiness.

Don’t be afraid to seize the day! If a door closes, break down the door or run to a window. If life suddenly isn’t going your way, find a way to get in control and take it back. Don’t be afraid to take what you want, but be careful to not put others down to get there.

Happiness is a direction you want your life to go, not a place.

What have you done today that makes you happy?

Here are some ideas: Drawing, writing, coloring, singing, listening to music, exercising, hanging out with friends, hanging out with family, playing with pets, watching movies, reading a book, or playing an instrument.

 

 

What can you do to stop bullying?

By Taylor Piver and Laura Summerfield

When I was at my old school, I was bullied for my skin color and personality and would receive hurtful comments, such as, “Why did you come to this school?” or “Go back to your white school.” When my teachers didn’t do anything to help me, it was their neglect that resulted in my family’s decision for me to change schools.

The meaning of bullying is to “seek harm, intimidate, or coerce (someone perceived as vulnerable)” (Oxford Dictionaries). “Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children 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” (StopBullying.gov).

Stopbullying.gov identified three major types of bullying:

  • “Verbal bullying is saying or writing mean things. Verbal bullying includes…
    • Teasing
    • Name-calling
    • Inappropriate sexual comments
    • Taunting
    • Threatening to cause harm
  • Social bullying, sometimes referred to as relational bullying, involves hurting someone’s reputation or relationships. Social bullying includes…
    • Leaving someone out on purpose
    • Telling other children not to be friends with someone
    • Spreading rumors about someone
    • Embarrassing someone in public
  • Physical bullying involves hurting a person’s body or possessions. Physical bullying includes…
    • Hitting/kicking/pinching
    • Spitting
    • Tripping/pushing
    • Taking or breaking someone’s things
    • Making mean or rude hand gestures”

Another type of bullying is cyberbullying: “the use of electronic communication to bully a person, typically by sending messages of an intimidating or threatening nature” (Oxford Dictionaries). This can be creating a hate group about someone, posting mean comments online, spreading rumors and gossip through text messages, stealing someone’s identity to create fake profile, etc. If you are being cyberbullied, don’t respond, block the bully, save evidence, set up new accounts, make a report and/or talk to an adult. When you see someone else being cyberbullied, document what you see and when, don’t encourage bullying behavior, don’t participate just to fit in, stand up for the victim, and report (Rick Floyd).

“Bullying can affect everyone: those who are bullied, those who bully, and those who witness bullying. Bullying is linked to many negative outcomes including impacts on mental health, substance use, and suicide. It is important to talk to kids to determine whether bullying, or something else is a concern” (StopBullying.gov). Although bullying is considered a crime, and 85% of all states have both a policy and a law against bullying, some states still do not. If you do know someone who bullies, whether it be you or someone else, please talk to someone about getting help.

Bullying can also lead to negative outcomes, such as mental health issues and suicide. If you are feeling suicidal or have suicidal thoughts call 1-800-273-8255; this is the National Suicide Prevention hotline. Please remember, you are not alone.

We hope this information helped; if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to TEEN4Hope.

 

Sources

“Bully | Definition of Bully in English by Oxford Dictionaries.” Oxford Dictionaries | English, Oxford Dictionaries, en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/bully.

Floyd, Rick. “Internet Safety—Teens.” Greenville, SC, 14 January 2019. Lecture

“What Is Bullying.” StopBullying.gov, Department of Health and Human Services, www.stopbullying.gov/what-is-bullying/index.html.

 

The Creation of TEENS4Hope

We have come a long way, but are excited about the future!

As Girl Scouts striving for our silver award, we, Laurie Summerfield and Taylor Piver, founded TEENS4Hope because we saw a need in the community. We wanted to help teens like us who have witnessed or are going through some of the problems commonly faced by teens today.

Teens are very vulnerable at this point in their life because they are going through puberty and hormones, when mixed with emotional distress, is a recipe for disaster. In addition, the stress of school and grades are other negative factors. These factors added to bullying, abuse, divorce, or other behavioral health issues could be difficult to handle on your own. And that’s where we come in.

We started the teen board as our silver award; the Girl Scout Silver Award is the second highest award a Girl Scout can earn at the Cadette level, or, between sixth and eighth grade. It is important because it promotes responsibility and positivity in the community. The goal of the silver award is to address a need in the community and find a sustainable solution.

TEENS4Hope is a program of Mental Health America of Greenville County (MHAGC), a nonprofit that aims to positively impact mental health in the community. Among their services is a 24/7 CRISISline and TEENline that any one for any reason can call at any time to talk about life’s struggles. Line workers are trained to intervene in a crisis, provide resources, but mainly to listen and work with the caller. Both lines are confidential and nonjudgmental.

Call TEENline at 864-467-8336 or text “TEENline” to 839863.