77 Public Health Resources for Addressing Youth Mental Health

Mental illnesses are inextricably linked to all other physical health outcomes and disease burdens across societies. Depression, anxiety and other psychological disorders can lead to rising youth suicide rates and other severe comorbidities that affect entire communities, especially during a global pandemic. 

Symptoms of mental health concerns typically develop between ages 12 and 24, but most mental illnesses aren’t diagnosed until later in life (PDF, 135 KB). Proactively addressing youth mental health concerns is a pressing matter for communities worldwide, and public health professionals are uniquely poised to help. Whether they work in schools, clinics, community centers or nonprofits, public health professionals who are attuned to the mental health needs of children and adolescents can effectively identify and address concerns and consult organizations on practices that best contribute to young people’s development.

Use the links below to navigate the mental health resources for professionals, parents and children in need of support. 

Urgent Mental Health Resources

Mental Health Resources by Age Group

Mental Health Resources for Adults Who Work With Youth

Urgent Mental Health Resources

General Resources 

Improving Access and Care for Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Conditions, The White House: fact sheet for anyone interested in learning about youth mental health needs and federal initiatives for support.

Mental Health, Youth.gov: overview of mental health needs for young people, including a list of programs, publications and other resources for finding help.

Supporting Youth Mental Health, National Alliance on Mental Illness: blog post with information about getting started with youth mental health services in your community.

Tips for Supporting Youth Mental Health, Public Health Insider: strategies for anyone interested in how to identify and address mental health needs of young people (also available in Spanish).

Helplines and Warmlines

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM): Visit the site or call 0800-58-58-58 for UK residents.

Crisis Text Line: Visit the site or text “HOME” to 741741.

International Suicide Hotlines: Visit the site for hotlines in countries around the world.

Love Is Respect: Visit the site or text “LOVEIS” to 22522, or call 1-866-331-9474.

National Eating Disorder Association: Visit the site or call 1-800-931-2237.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Visit the site or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Warmline Directory (PDF, 271 KB), National Alliance on Mental Illness: list of national and state-level warmlines, which are peer-run phone lines offering emotional support from volunteers for individuals seeking help but not having an emergency.

COVID-19 Resources 

COVID Resources for Young Adults and Parents of Young Adults, Active Minds: library of content and resources for young people and their support systems while navigating the pandemic.

Implications of COVID-19 for LGBTQ Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, The Trevor Project: information about the effect of social isolation and disease burdens on at-risk youth in the LGBTQ community.

The Pandemic’s Toll on Young Adolescents: Prevention and Intervention Targets to Preserve Their Mental HealthJournal of Adolescent Health: research about strategies for improved mental health outcomes among children and teens.

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Mental Health Resources by Age Group

Children and Adolescents (Ages 5–12)

Adolescent Mental Health, World Health Organization: facts about social determinants affecting mental health outcomes such as eating disorders, self-harm and emotional disorders.

An Activity Book for African American Families: Helping Children Cope with Crisis (PDF, 12.4MB), NICHD: downloadable workbook for Black families to explore mental health and emotional needs with young children.

Anger Management Tips for Children, Scholastic: strategies for addressing anger with positive and productive outcomes.  

Apps for Anxious Children, Anxiety: list of mobile apps for low or no cost that can support emotional well-being and combat anxiety.

Calming Anxiety, Coping Skills for Kids: activities explained step-by-step for supporting the needs of children experiencing anxiety. 

Child Therapy Worksheets (age 5+), OptimistMinds: mental health worksheets for children about naming feelings, processing trauma and developing coping strategies.  

Feelings Games, PBS Kids: library of online games designed to help children explore their feelings and build healthy processes for addressing emotions.

Inventive Games That Teach Kids About Empathy and Social Skills, KQED: list of online games reviewed for encouraging socializing and positive emotional interactions for children.

Making Healthy Choices: A Guide on Psychotropic Medications for Youth in Foster Care, ChildWelfare.Gov: guide on mental health, treatment options and the use of psychotropic medications. 

Mental Health Handouts for Kids, Myle Marks: printable worksheets that explain mental health to children.

Mental Illness Education for Kids, Susie Shep’s YouTube Channel: video explaining mental health for children while reducing stigma.

Mental Health Resources, The Trevor Project: library of content geared to LGBTQ+ youth who are experiencing mental health stressors and seeking online support.

Self-Esteem and Character-Building Activities for Kids, Kids Play And Create: strategies and downloadable resources for supporting children in self-esteem and character development. 

Teach Confidence and Boost Self-Esteem With These Best-Selling Books, Scholastic: list of books for children about mental health and self-esteem.

Therapy Worksheets for Children, Therapist Aid: free mental health worksheets for children covering topics such as anger management, self-esteem and stress.

What to Do When You Feel Sad, Kids Health: guide for children to navigate feelings of sadness and depression.

Teens (Ages 13–19)

52 Mental Health Resources for Disabled People, POC, LGBTQ Folks, and More, Teen Vogue: resources curated by an educator and therapist including culturally specific mental health resources.

Advocacy for Self, Teens Against Bullying: video episodes created by and for middle and high school students to address bullying in their school communities. 

Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective: library of mental health care and peer support resources for Black communities.

Emotional Health Index, Center for Young Women’s Health: alphabetical guide of mental health topics and resources related to emotional and psychological well-being for teenage and young women. 

Emotional Health Index, Center for Young Men’s Health: alphabetical list of resources on emotional health, including anxiety, depression, bullying and eating disorders for young men. 

College Readiness and Resources Sheets, Youth Mental Health Project: downloadable worksheets for teens nearing college, arranged by topics such as loneliness and stress.

Community Healing Network Resources: library of toolkits, movies, books and other resources about mental health and healing from trauma created for Black families and communities.

Go Ask Alice!, Columbia University: database of questions and answers covering a variety of concerns related to emotional health. 

Impact of Social Media on Youth Mental Health, University of Nevada, Reno: statistics about the effect of social media on psychological health and strategies for setting boundaries and building healthy social media habits.

I Want to Take Care of My Mental Health, Jed Foundation: interactive page for young people to explore resources related to their current emotional needs. 

Live Happy Now Podcast: scientifically driven strategies for teens to live happier and more meaningful lives. 

Mental Health: Ethnic Minority Experiences, Health Talk: video interviews with 30 people discussing their lived experiences seeking care for mental health needs.

Mind (for Teens), Teens Health: resources on mental health issues for teens about body image, relationships, stress management and more. 

Mindfulness for Teens: resources for teens to use mindfulness as stress management, including guided meditations and videos. 

Reach Out Australia: information for teens on specific mental health disorders and resources for seeking clinical support, community forums and more.

Resources for Youth Mental Health, Youth Tech Health: list of articles and toolkits for teens and their parents seeking information about mental health support.

Self-Care, Active Minds: information for students about how to incorporate self-care into their routines and why it can benefit mental health.

Strength of Us, National Alliance on Mental Illness: online community for young adults affected by mental health challenges to find peer support and share resources.

Student Resources, Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network: resources on finding gay-straight alliance (GSA) chapters and tools on how to establish or reestablish a GSA in a school community.

Teen Mental Health Literacy: learning tools for teenagers on a variety of mental illnesses, including videos and resources for friends. 

Therapy for Black Girls Podcast: library of more than 200 episodes on mental health and wellness created for Black girls and women. 

What Teens Can Do, StopBullying.Gov: strategies for teens to prevent bullying in their schools and communities and resources for those experiencing bullying. 

Your Feelings, Girls Health.Gov: guidance for teen girls on recognizing a mental health problem, getting help and talking to parents. 

Youth and Young Adults, Kelty Mental Health Resource Center: library websites, books, videos, toolkits and support for youth mental health disorders.

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Mental Health Resources for Adults Who Work With Youth

Parents of Children and Teens

12 Activities to Help Your Child With Social Skills, Friendship Circle: list of free activities and strategies for parents to use while building social and emotional health with their children.

22 Things People With Mental Illness Wish Their Parents Knew, The Mighty: crowdsourced quotes from young people about how parents can better approach mental health issues with their children.

Additional Children’s Mental Health Resources, Association for Children’s Mental Health: information for parents about mental health including what happens when calling a hotline or lifeline. 

Family Resource Center, Child Mind Institute: library for parents to learn about child development organized by topics such as ADHD, anxiety and depression.  

Healthy Mental and Emotional Development, Mental Health America: strategies for supporting child development and mental health, organized by age group.

Helping Children Cope With Loss, Mental Health America: information about grieving strategies and mental health outcomes for children experiencing loss.

Supporting Your Military Children Through the Deployment Cycle, Military OneSource: advice for military families about navigating deployment while supporting their children’s mental health needs.  

Mental Health Mamas Podcast: episodes created by moms for parents navigating mental health concerns for themselves and for their children. 

Parent Central: How to Speak With Your Kid About Anxiety, Psych Central: guide to understanding anxiety in children and how to approach them with support and care.

Parenting Resource & Information, Healthy Place: guide for parents with children who have been diagnosed with a mental illness.

The Parent Support Network, The Youth Mental Health Project: support group for parents of children and teens discuss parenting styles, resources and more.

Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers, National Association of School Psychologists: advice for parents on how to discuss fear, safety and violence with young people, organized by age group. 

Where Can Families Start? Supporting a Child or Youth With Mental Health Challenges, Kelty Mental Health: video on how parents can help their child cope with mental health issues.

Public Health Professionals, Educators and Clinicians

Adolescence and Internet Identity, Psychology Today: article explaining the unique and transformative era of adolescence that helps young people shape their identities.

Children and Teens – Anxiety and Depression, Anxiety and Depression Association of America: resource list for providing support to young people with anxiety and depression.

Digital Shareables on Child and Adolescent Mental Health, National Institute of Mental Health: library of downloadable graphics, worksheets and social media materials for professionals to use when addressing mental health stigma for children.  

Educational Materials, Youth Mental Health Project: free downloadable materials for parents or other adults to use when explaining or learning about mental health needs of children.

Identity Charts, Facing History: classroom activity for counselors or other professionals who work with children to explore identity and mental health.

Mental Health | Adolescent and School Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: strategies for clinicians, educators, parents and other school staff to support youth mental health.

School Policy and Staff Development, Erika’s Lighthouse: training materials and programs for promoting an inclusive and positive school environment.

Supporting Youth, Families and Communities, YMCA Project Cornerstone: resources for a community initiative that helps adults support children’s mental health and self-worth.

Toolkit: Identity Development, ACT for Youth: fact sheets and activity guides to support young people with identity exploration related to gender, ethnicity and race.

Youth Mental Health, Mental Health America National: information about symptoms of mental illnesses and strategies for adults to take action in support of youth.  

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Resources in this article are for informational purposes only; individuals should consult with a clinician before making any decisions related to mental health or wellness.