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How to Help a Desperate Teen

Sometimes the best and easiest thing you can do to help is to just…listen.

If you sense a teen is struggling, say, “How are you doing, really?” and show, with your body language, that you’re interested: lean back or sit down; angle your body toward him or her.

If they say, “I’m fine,” but you don’t sense that’s the real, maybe say, “Really? If you’re not, I totally want to hear what’s going on…”

And then just listen. Don’t give an opinion. Don’t share your own experience. Just listen, and maybe throw in a “Tell me more.” Or a “What happened next.”

That shit can save a life.

U.S. teens can anonymously contact the Crisis Text Line, 24 hours a day, every day, by texting 741741.

If someone is feeling suicidal, help is always available at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp.

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