How a Depressed Teen or Young Adult Can Actually Help Themselves!!

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How a Depressed Teen or Young Adult Can Actually Help Themselves!!



Kelly_depressedThere There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.”
― Laurell K. Hamilton  

Today, on Manic Monday I spoke directly to teens but as always, anyone can benefit from the tips in every Manic Monday.

The reason I started is because when I did a Google search for suicide survivors, every result on the first page was for people who had lost someone to suicide.

As I was doing some research on teen depression, again, the immediate results were for the parent of a teen with depression. In times of distress, a downward spiral, depression episode or in the throes of suicidal thinking, we don’t have ALL day to search for help! Sometimes, those times are a very short window of time.

So today, I gave some tips on how to help yourself. I believe that the more we can learn ways to help ourselves rather than having to run to a friend or counselor or psychiatrist or be committed to a mental institution, the more empowered we are and the more healthy we become.

My first tip is to literally “Pat yourself on the back.” My mom used to do this when she hugged me. Sometimes she didn’t say anything, but she didn’t need to. That pat said to me that she loved me and no matter what I was going through, somehow, everything was going to be okay.

I don’t have my mom anymore to do that, so I decided one day when I was super depressed to pat myself. I was sitting down and I just pat my leg or sometimes I will pat my shoulder. Other times I will pat my shoulder while I am looking at myself in the mirror. I just say to myself that everything really is going to be okay. It sounds silly, I know. But, it really works, try it sometime!

Another tip is to say to yourself, “Just wait.” Think about other times that you have made it through. If you are at a very low point and just wait won’t work for you, then set a stop watch on your phone for 60 – 120 seconds and literally watch it counting. This forces your brain to focus on something and it will provide you some relief. You can even do this for longer time periods. Let’s say it is 6:00 pm and you need to “Just Wait.” Just make a mental note that you are going to wait until 10:00. Then, at 10:00 just wait a little longer by encouraging yourself that if you could just go on to bed and get a good nights sleep you will be able to think more clearly in the morning.

Lastly, get out a sheet of paper. Make a column on the left and put, “Things that are IN my control.” The middle column will say, “Things that are OUT of my control.” Then, the third column will say, “Things I can possibly do something about TODAY.”

The depressed/suicidal mind has the ability to think many, many racing thoughts at one time….sometimes all the time.

We can literally have one single thing go wrong and our minds can instantly create SO many other bad thoughts about ourselves, our lives, our future, our jobs, etc. But almost always, all those other thoughts really have nothing at all to do with you personally whatsoever.

So, after you have made your columns, see how many things really are out of your control and you can do nothing about. Toss them away for today. There is nothing you can do about it anyway. Or, you may be able to think of some ideas to help the situation or most likely you will realize there are only 1 or 2 things that are really bothering you and now you can focus on just those. Think of it as like a bite size problem rather than a king size problem.


Here is the list of apps I mentioned in the video:

Smiling Mind
Depression CBT (Android only)
Panic Relief
Mood Kit

Have some questions or just want to share your story? Please follow me on Facebook ( or contact me directly at

Kelley McElreath
I created a program for people who have gone through more than their fair share of tragedies, depression, suicidal thoughts and tendencies and attempted suicides. My mission is to teach others how they can help THEMSELVES and to be a resource for suicidal individuals to reach out to, knowing I will not have them committed or call the authorities.

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