Student Mental Health Resources
Overwhelming circumstances can lead to feelings, thoughts, and behaviors that are not helpful. Sometimes when we get stuck in a cycle of thinking, feeling, and doing unhelpful things we can develop depression, anxiety, and/or other mental health problems. When someone in our family has a mental health problem we are more likely to inherit genetic risk factors for mental health issues. Environmental factors also play a role in negative thinking patterns and feelings of overwhelm.
Our mental wellness is also impacted when medical issues or situational issues are getting in the way of taking care of our body. Eating healthy, sleeping, exercising and drinking water are important. Sometimes when people struggle with their mental wellness they stop taking care of these things.
If you are struggling please remember: you are not alone, there is hope, and there is help available.
Reaching out for help is the first step. Talk to an adult you trust within your family. Share your concerns about health with your parent, an aunt, an uncle, a grandparent.
If you need support from someone at school, talk to the Student Mental Health Specialist and/or your school counselor. You can also make a Student Assistance Program (SAP) referral.
Remember - if you or someone you care about are currently experiencing a crisis, please call the crisis line at (425) 258-4357 or text 741741. You can also call 911.
Common Ways People Get Help
There lots of ways people get help with mental health struggles.
These are some things that may help reduce symptoms and restore balance. Some people choose to get help by doing one of these things. Some choose to do a few of these things in combination.
- Ask for help, Connect
- Medication Management (Medical)
Ask for help/connect:
You may need to advocate for yourself and share your concerns (with a caregiver or other trusted family member) so that people can help. Connecting with others can lead to hope and healing.
Here are a couple of articles about talking to someone, asking for help, and connecting:
- Talking to your parent or other trusted adult:
- Talking to your child:
- What to Do If You're Concerned about Your Teen's Mental Health (PDF)
- Strategies for Parenting through Overwhelm and Avoidance (PDF)
- How Do I Help My Anxious Child, Tips and Tools (PDF)
- Family / Adolescent initiated treatment information
Information from the Washington State Health Care Authority website.
- Talking to a friend:
Mental health therapy/counseling can provide a neutral and well trained ally. The terms therapist and counselor are often used interchangeably. These terms usually are used in reference to a Psychotherapist.
- This person may help you ask for what you want and need in a more helpful way.
- This person may help you navigate your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
- This person may help you take control of your overwhelm.
- This person may help you find a voice so that you can ask for what you want and need.
- This person may help your loved ones so that they know what helps you and what doesn’t.
- It is a very good idea to start with your Primary Care Physician (PCP). Sometimes medical issues can contribute to your mood. A doctor can help you figure things out.
- Schedule an appointment and discuss your symptoms. Be honest. Let them know about the things you are thinking/feeling. Tell your doctor about the areas of your life that are impacted. Let them know if your behavior has changed.
- Sometimes it is helpful to ask for a referral to a Psychiatrist who works with adolescents.
**If you do not have a PCP, you may need to talk to a caregiver (or other trusted adult in your family) about finding one. Some of the steps to find a PCP are the same as the ones listed below in the section where it talks about “Insurance.”
- Sometimes we have to fake it until we make it and force ourselves to be involved with physical activity.
- Yoga is a great form of physical activity that helps us with mindfulness.
- Move toward connecting with others. Connect with your pet, talk to a friend (or make a friend), talk to an adult at school, talk to your family. Connection is movement!
- Mindfulness is the ability to focus on this very moment. We can slow down and not worry about the past or predict the future.
- What IS, Not What IF (PDF)
- A dozen ways to face fears at home and school tip sheet (PDF)
- Talk about coping: a dice game/topic prompts (PDF)
Thinking about finding a mental health counselor outside of school?
How do I get into counseling?
Getting into counseling takes some work on your part. If you are reading this, you are starting to do that work by exploring what kind of help is available. Here are some things that you will need to do.
- Collaborate with your caregivers (or another trusted adult family member) and talk about getting help from a counselor.
- Find out what kind of insurance you may have.
- Contact a service provider that takes your insurance and schedule and appointment.
Some insurance plans require that you find a therapist/counselor within their approved network. A network contains people who have been screened by the insurance company and have gone through a process to become a part of their “in network provider” groups. State insurance like Apple Health or Medicaid also have providers who are considered “in network."
- Try to look at your insurance card and call the number on the back of the card.
- Ask about how to access behavioral health (or mental health) services.
- Ask if you need to see someone within their network.
- Ask for a list of those people.
- You may need a referral from your Primary Care Physician (your doctor) for “behavioral health services.” The term behavioral health is sometimes used instead of mental health.
- Your caregiver may need to call their Human Resources department to get information regarding who to contact for more information regarding accessing mental health services.
If you don't have insurance there are ways that you can apply for it. There are programs through the State of Washington that can help you get coverage. If you are living independently and have a limited income, you can sign up for coverage by yourself. If you are living with your caregivers, then they are often the ones who complete this process.
- Washington State Health Care Authority
For state insurance like Apple Health or Medicaid.
- Private Insurance or Independently Purchased Plan (PDF)
Tips for utilizing private insurance plans.
Finding a provider - some helpful links:
- Call 211 or vist the 211 crisis website.
- Washington Health Plan Finder
- Local Mental Health Providers (PDF)
Contacting a service provider:
Providers have different things they are good at (specialties). A lot of providers have websites and information on the internet. Try researching providers online so you can make a more informed decision about your care.
With some insurance companies, like Apple Health, you can choose to access services from agencies or groups of providers. Community Mental Health Centers like Seamar, Compass Health, or Catholic Community Services are some of the options. If you have Apple Health and want different options (other than community mental health centers) then call the number on the Apple Health insurance card and ask about alternatives.
Sometimes people get a referral from their doctor and choose to go to a provider within that system of care. An example is, if you have a PCP at the Everett Clinic or Providence Health, you may choose to get services from providers within their system. They usually have Behavioral Health Departments.
If you don’t get a call back when you call places to ask for an appointment, keep calling. If you have left multiple messages and are not getting a call back within a few days then it might be a good idea to try another provider. Call a different provider or call your insurance company back and let them know you are having trouble utilizing their in-network provider system.
There may be times when you need to miss school for your first appointment because it is during the school day. The first appointment is sometimes called an intake. That is an important time when the provider gathers information and figures out suggestions to make about your ongoing care. Make your health a priority. Communicate your absence with school just like you would for a dentist or doctor appointment. Make the appointment, keep it, and stick with it.
Steps like asking for help, finding help, and accepting help are a process. Healing takes time and often it does not happen quickly. You may feel much better when you have people who know how you are doing. It might be a big relief when you have connections with people who care. Once you have hope and start working on yourself you may feel much better. A relationship with your counselor is based on a trust. If the provider is not the right fit, speak up, let your caregiver know, let the provider know and find someone else. It might be helpful to go to a few appointments before you make the decision about if it is a good fit or not.
Remember: You are not crazy, there is hope, and there is help.
Remember: you can make a Student Assistance Program (SAP) referral, contact the school counselor, and/or contact the Student Mental Health Specialist if you need help with this process.