FamilyAwareTeens

Teens using Instagram to tell their stories of living with depression and bipolar disorder.

We know that teens who raise their voices can make a difference!

Our @Familyawareteens Instagram account provides teens and young adults with a platform to share their personal stories of living with depression or bipolar disorder. These stories are shared as a way to encourage other young people to recognize symptoms and know how they can seek help. Our main goals are to dispel misconceptions about people affected by mood disorders and eliminate the social stigma and discrimination around mental health issues.

While many teens and young adults struggle with social media use, we want to create a safe place for teens to send messages of hope and support. Please review our social media policy to help us ensure that our Instagram account is a safe place for all!

Ready to get involved? Our Instagram Teen Speakers share their stories to help others! We are actively recruiting new volunteers between the ages of 14-25. Want to become a volunteer and share your story?

 Fill out our volunteer form!

Do you live in Massachusetts? You could be a Teen Speaker!

Learn more!
What’s teen depression and bipolar disorder anyway?

Depression and bipolar disorder are medical conditions that are diagnosed by a doctor or mental health professional. These conditions are often referred to as ‘mood disorders’ because symptoms include feelings and emotions that interfere with the ability to function.

If any of the following symptoms last for two weeks or more, a person may have depression:

  • Feelings of sadness, emptiness, worthlessness, and hopelessness
  • Trouble concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Irritability
  • Loss of interest in things that were once pleasurable
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts

A person with bipolar disorder experiences depression and elevated moods often called ‘mania’. Mania may look like:

  • Increased energy, whether extremely positive or excessively irritable
  • Decreased need for sleep without feeling tired
  • Restlessness, racing thoughts, talking very fast, easily distracted
  • Unrealistic believe in own abilities
  • Impulsiveness, lack of judgement, risky behaviors
What do I do if I think I have the signs of depression or bipolar disorder but have never been diagnosed?

Depression and bipolar disorder can only be diagnosed by a licensed healthcare professional (examples include doctors, nurses, social workers). If you think you or someone you know may have depression or bipolar disorder, talk to a trusted adult or medical professional.  Not sure where to start? You can take a private and anonymous online screening and print out the results to help start the conversation.

What if I am concerned about a friend?

The best thing you can do is to help your friend find someone to talk to. Tell your friend you are concerned and ask if they have noticed a change. If they are willing to seek help, see if they know what to do or if they want your support to talk to a trusted adult. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your friend directly, talk to an adult you trust. This adult could be a parent, family friend, another family member, religious leader, school faculty, group leader, coach, or anyone in your community.

What if my friend told me to keep it a secret?

Trust your gut. If your friend is feeling depressed or suicidal this is not a secret you should keep. Your friend might be upset with you, but their safety is important. Being a good friend means making sure the people you love are healthy and safe. We can’t say this enough, talk to a trusted adult.

What should I do if I have thoughts of wanting to die or of harming myself or others?

If this is a crisis or an emergency, call 9-1-1.

There are many resources available! While we hope you have a trusted adult in your life, you may not be ready to tell them or know who to turn to. Here are some free resources you can try. We recommend putting these numbers in your cell phone so you have them whenever you need them.

Remember that help is available and you are worth it.

Your story matters.