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Youth Helping Youth

Top 10 Things I Need to Know About Mental Health and Substance Abuse

Talk to Other Youth

Youth like to talk with other youth. Often youth are most willing and comfortable interacting and talking with your peers.  

It can be reassuring to hear from other youth about their experiences coping with day to day challenges.  And, if you have a mental health or addiction problem, then sometimes the day to day struggles can feel overwhelming.

Ask for help.

Sometimes asking for help can be hard.  And help can come from different places.  

For some people, help might come from a mental health or addictions clinician who will work with you to find a treatment that helps you to cope and get back to your everyday living.  

Help can also come from your peers; people who may have experienced something similar to you.  Your life experiences won’t be exactly the same but it might help you to feel that you’re not alone.  

Community Groups

In HRM there are a bunch of different places you might check out if you’d like to learn more about what other people your age are doing to cope with dealing with a mental health or addiction problem.  These are places where the staff are youth-friendly – they are comforting and easy to talk to.  They are people who are honest, good listeners and are understanding.  Here are some places we think are pretty great – and have a reputation for being helpful places to check-out.  

Laing House is a peer support organization for youth living with mental illness, where members can embrace their unique gifts and find their way in a caring and supportive environment.

Phoenix Youth Programs is a non-profit, community based organization located in Halifax. They offer at-risk and homeless youth (ages 12–24) the opportunity to break the cycle of homelessness and find a better path.

Healthy Minds Cooperative is an innovative new health care cooperative that provides a variety of peer-based services to end-users of mental health services and their families. It also provides significant and meaningful input into the design, development, delivery and evaluation of mental health services. 

Helping with Stress

We also know that when you’re stressed, it’s a great idea to find something to do – like watch TV, play a game with a friend or read.  If you’re feeling stressed, think of a safe, fun hobby you enjoy and do it!  Doing things takes your mind off whatever stresses you out.  Here are some ideas of things you might do when you’re feeling stressed out. These are ideas that incorporate self-soothing and distracting activities that can help you better tolerate stress... may not make you feel better right away, but it can help you tolerate the stress until you can meet with someone for help.  Pick and choose – you might be surprised by what works for you.  


  1. warm bath
  2. calming scented cream
  3. herbal tea
  4. stress balls


  1. reading
  2. listening to music
  3. going for a walk

Helpful Websites

Here are a few great web sites you might want to check out too: Blue Wave Foundation My Health Magazine