If that number scares you, it should. While growing up has never been easy, today’s teens face a landscape that might be unrecognizable to their parents. In addition to cliques and peer pressure they live in a fast-changing social media world — Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook — that exposes and makes vulnerable as much as it shares and connects. Factor in high school and mass shootings, terrorism, daily reports about climate change, and the prospect of life-changing college loan debt and it’s no wonder that rates of teen depression, anxiety, and, tragically, suicide are soaring.
My book, Beneath the Surface, speaks candidly to teens about depression, suicide and the issues they face every day. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death in young people aged 10 to 24, and the vast majority of suicides are completed by people struggling with depression or other mental illnesses.
The issues covered, including depression, eating disorders, PTSD, anxiety, and substance abuse, are accompanied by the stories of real teens who have experienced and come through these challenges. Testimonials from teens who have been depressed, attempted suicide, and survived highlight ways that kids can recognize danger signs in their own lives, help a friend in trouble, and find nonjudgmental, empathic help.
As a fellow survivor of grief and trauma, it is my passion to to show the hopeless that there is hope, the lonely that they aren’t alone, and that life can be much, much easier than seems possible in moments of crisis.
WINNER: GOLD METAL for TEEN BOOKS
Each year COVR gives Visionary Awards to entries selected from among the best new products, electronic media, jewelry, music and books in the Mind*Body*Spirit marketplace. Our Visionary Awards are the only awards of their kind in our industry.
Kristi Hugstad’s presentation to the Health students at Dana Hills High School was very moving and informative. She brought her first hand expertise and personal insight when living with a person who is experiencing the ill-effects of substance-related disorders, specifically steroid use. Her story demonstrates the importance of recognizing the signs of mental illness; including paranoia, depression and suicide. Kristi’s natural ability to interact and connect with high school students was inspiring to witness. Her catch phrase and the title of her book “R U OK?”, captures the essence of her message. Our Health students were captivated with her story and many students expressed that her message was heard loud and clear. Thank you Kristi, for sharing such a painful event, and turning this personal tragedy into a lesson to be remembered.
Jeanette Boyle | DHHS Health Educator, Dana Point, CA
"I wanted to reach out to thank for everything you do to help our teens. Coming to speak to our students at San Clemente High School about it being ok to not be ok. That there is SO much hope and help. Powerful message for those feeling scared of whats in their head. You are making a difference! Thank you for all you do! "
Angie Tisdale - San Clemente High School Health
Online crisis intervention chat and information center
LGBT National Help Center
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
Getting Help and Mental Health Resources 139
National Hopeline Network
National Runaway Safeline
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
800-273-TALK (8255) or Text 741 741
Teens helping teens
800-TLC-TEEN (852-8336) or 310-855-HOPE (4673)
Or text TEEN to 839863
The Trevor Project
For gay and questioning youth in crisis
Or text START to 678678