Communicating About Grief


Navigating grief and conversation

A closer look at how to connect with others after the loss of a loved one

Telling family about your loss

After someone dies it can be hard for everyone to adjust. Family members might argue with each other more often, and sometimes being with your family can be uncomfortable for you. However, it can also be a time when you can grieve together.

Try to be understanding of your family’s reactions. Doing things together like having dinner, playing a sport, or hanging out and talking about some of the things you’re feeling might help you all to better understand how each other grieves.

Don’t be afraid to talk about the person who has died. You might not want to mention that person for fear of upsetting others, but don’t forget that your family members and friends are probably already upset, even though they might not be showing it. The silence created by not talking about the person who has died might make your family members feel like that person was not significant, or that this person didn’t exist at all.

Telling friends

Friends of the person who has died might have deep feelings of grief as well. Like you, they may also want to have something of their friend’s. Try and be sensitive to their requests.

Including these people into your grieving might help you get through your own loss. Friends may also be a great source of support and good people to talk to about some of the major decisions you need to make.

Coping with other people’s reactions

Chances are your friends won’t know what to do or say to make you feel better. This can be difficult for both you and the people who are trying to support you. It may help to let them know how you’re feeling and that it might take time for you to get back into your normal routine. If there are things that your friends and relatives could do to help you out, it may be a good idea to let them know.

People may ask you a whole lot of questions that you may not want, or are not ready, to answer. It’s O.K. to tell people that you aren’t ready to talk, and that you’ll let them know when you are ready.

Get Support

While it’s important to get support from your friends and family, you might find that you need to speak with someone who’s removed from the situation, like a mental health professional or minister or other spiritual leader.

If your grief has become overwhelming and you’d like to talk to someone, you can always call a crisis helpline. They will listen to you and offer support. Never feel afraid to reach out.

Information for this article was provided by:

  • Some of the information is adapted from the book After Suicide, Help For The Bereaved by Sheila Clark. Published in 1995 by Hill of Content Publishing Company Pty Ltd, Melbourne 3000.

Acknowledgements: This article was originally developed by youth and staff for

Effective Communication


Getting the message across

A closer look at different communication styles and how to start effectively communication today

The way you communicate has a big impact on your ability to get along with people and getting the things that you want. Good communication skills can help you avoid conflict and to solve problems. Open and honest communication is also important for making friends and having healthy relationships.

Styles of communication

Communication can be expressed in many ways and with different results.  Communication can be aggressive, passive, passive-aggressive or assertive. Poor communication often creates tension and bad feelings within relationships.

Aggressive communication is expressed in a forceful and hostile manner, and usually involves alienating messages such as “you-statements”. You-statements blame the other person, accuse them of being wrong or at fault, and can also be labeling (like calling them a name).

A person’s tone of voice and facial expressions can also project unfriendliness. Aggressive communication can send the message “your needs don’t matter,” or “I win, and you lose.” By sending this message, you quickly cut off lines for open communication. When someone speaks to you this way, how does it make you feel? Do you think this is a productive way at reaching your goals?

Passive communication involves putting your needs last. When you communicate passively, you don’t express your thoughts or feelings or ask for what you want. When you use passive communication, it feels like others are walking all over you because you don’t assert your own needs. As a result, you might bottle things up and might feel resentful. Passive communication can send the message ”my needs don’t matter,” or “you win, and I lose.” When this message is received by others, those with bad intentions could see this as a way to keep you under their control or to repeatedly take advantage of you. Have you seen this in others before, or perhaps yourself? What kind of message do you think this communication style brings?

Passive-aggressive communication is when you don’t clearly state your needs or feelings, instead using indirectly aggressive communication, such as making snide remarks, being stubborn, or sulking and withdrawing from the conversation. This style of communication looks passive on the outside, but beneath the surface, this person is acting out their aggression in a subtle or indirect way.

Those with this communication style may often feel powerless and resentful, denying there’s a problem and using sarcasm to deal with others. Essentially, this person is communicating, “I’ll seem cooperative, but I’m not going to be” or “I feel powerless to tell you how I really feel, so I’ll frustrate you instead”. What does it feel like when people aren’t upfront about their feelings with you? Can you imagine it being easy or hard to connect with someone that communicated like this?

Assertive communication involves clearly expressing what you think, how you feel and what you want, without demanding that you must have things your way. The basic underlying assumption is ”we both matter, so let’s try to work this out”. It’s seeing everyone involved in the conversation as a part of the group effort in making things work as smoothly as possible.

Assertive communication increases your likelihood of getting what you want, avoiding conflict and maintaining good relationships. Everyone can win in these situations.

When you are assertive you can:

  • Express your own thoughts, feelings and needs

  • Make reasonable requests of other people, while accepting his or her right to say ”no”

  • Stand up for your own rights

  • Say “no” to requests from others when you want to, without feeling guilty

Take this example…

Tom is feeling angry. He’s supposed to get his driver’s license next week, and for the past month his dad has been promising to take him out driving, but it never seemed to happen. Tom feels frustrated because he needs the practice before he goes for the test.

On Thursday, Tom came home from school and asked his dad if they could go for a drive. His dad said he couldn’t because he had some work to do.

Finally at his breaking point, Tom exploded. “You don’t give a damn about me. You are such a liar! You never do what you say you’re going to do,” he yelled.

In return his dad got all fired up and called Tom a spoiled brat who doesn’t think about anyone but himself. Both Tom and his dad were angry at each other after this argument.

This is a good example of how poor communication can lead to conflict and hurt feelings. Let’s have a closer look at some of the errors that led to this angry outburst.

Error 1: Making assumptions

Tom expected his dad to know what he was thinking and feeling, without clearly telling him. Until the time of the argument, his dad had no idea how important it was to Tom to get the extra driving practice. He thought that Tom felt confident about the test and assumed he just wanted to go for a drive for fun, which they could do anytime.

Tom, on the other hand, had assumed that his father knew how important it was for him to get some more practice even though he never told him, and therefore interpreted his dad’s attitude as not caring.

Assumptions occur in most relationships and people get upset because of these misunderstandings. Often we expect people to know what we are thinking—we believe that they should be able to understand where we are coming from, even though we haven’t expressed it clearly. No one is a mind reader, so it’s important to give people a clear picture of where you’re coming from and how you two can work together to make things easier.

An important aspect of good communication is to tell others what we’re thinking and what we want or need, and also to not assume that they already know.

In Tom’s case, the situation could have turned out better if he had communicated more clearly in the first place, by saying something like “Dad, I’ve got my driver’s license test on Tuesday, and I’m feeling nervous about it. Do you have some time this week to take me out on a few drives? What days would work for you?”

By clearly communicating that going for a drive is very important to him, Tom gives his dad a better understanding of where he’s coming from and how he is feeling. By scheduling a specific time, it strengthens the commitment and makes it easier for both of them to plan ahead.

Error 2: Avoiding communication

Tom didn’t say anything until he was very angry. Each time his dad cancelled the planned drive, Tom said nothing. Over time, Tom stewed about it more and more, and finally he exploded. This type of situation is like a pot boiling on the stove—if you don’t let off a little steam as time passes, eventually the pressure builds up and it boils over. Whenever we’re feeling upset, it’s better to talk about it as soon as possible, rather than letting things build up. If we say nothing, we won’t get what we want and our frustration grows.

Communication problems often arise because we don’t say how we feel, what we think or what we want. People often avoid communicating because they are embarrassed or concerned about upsetting the other person. Sometimes we just assume that others should know what we think. The problem is that when you don’t say what you need to say, it increases the likelihood of feeling angry, resentful and frustrated. This may lead to tension or angry outbursts.

Error 3: Labeling

Tom and his dad also used labels to criticize each other. Labels such as “liar” or “spoiled brat” can be offensive. When we label another person, it can feel like we are attacking them, and that person’s first reaction is usually to attack back.

Attacks lead to heated arguments and conflict. Labels are an example of alienating messages (see Error 4 below), because they criticize the person rather than the behavior. It is OK to criticize someone’s behavior (for example,“I think what you did was unfair”), but labeling the whole person (”You are unfair”) is unreasonable and creates bad feelings between people.

Error 4: Alienating messages

When we use criticism, put-downs or aggressive communication, no one wins, and everyone feels bad in the end. Alienating messages make the other person feel threatened or under attack, and usually this person will respond by attacking back. This type of communication very often leads to angry confrontations or a “cold war,” where we stop speaking to the other person, or use minimal communication.

Some examples of alienating messages include:

  • You-statements. We blame the other person and accuse him or her of being wrong or at fault. In Tom’s case, the you-statement was: “You don’t give a damn about me!”

  • Sarcasm. Sarcastic statements are negative or hurtful phrases that you don’t really mean, and are used to put another person down in a more passive-aggressive way. An example of a sarcastic statements include “Well, we can’t all be perfect like you.”

  • Negative comparisons. Negative comparisons are statements that you use when you compare a person to someone else, and in the process, you put them down for not be ‘as good’ as the other person. For example, “Why can’t you get A’s like your sister?” is a negative comparison.

  • Threats. These statements can include giving another person an ultimatum, for example, “If you don’t do what I want, then I’m going to…”

The communication problems between Tom and his father are very common ones. Perhaps you can think of some examples in your own experience, where you or someone you know has used poor communication, such as assumptions, avoidance, or alienating messages. It’s always useful to be aware of your communication so that you can avoid making these types of errors.

Getting your message across isn’t always easy. Good communication skills can help you avoid conflict and solve problems.

Whole messages

One of the most effective ways of communicating is to use whole messages. This is especially useful when you need to bring up an issue that’s difficult to talk about or makes you feel uncomfortable. A whole message involves expressing how you think and feel, while at the same time stating what you want.

Whole messages consist of four parts:

1. Observations

Describe what happened. Try to be factual and accurate, while not making assumptions.

For example, “When Mike came over the other day, you didn’t stop and talk to him.”

2. Thoughts

State your beliefs, opinions or interpretation of what happened in your observation.

For example, “I thought it seemed rude, like you don’t like him.”

3. Feelings

Say how you feel about the situation.

For example, “When you did that, it made me feel embarrassed and uncomfortable.”

4. Wants

Talk about what you would like to happen in the situation.

For example, “The next time he comes over, I’d like it if you could say “hi” and to make an effort to talk to him. Could you do that for me, please?”

Learning to communicate effectively takes a bit of practice. Can you think of a situation that you’ve experienced where you needed to communicate with someone about a concern? Perhaps you even have an issue that you need to resolve at the moment. Think about it. Then take these steps:

1. Describe the situation, and who you need to communicate with.

2. Write the whole message, including observations, thoughts, feelings and wants.

TIP: If you find it difficult to say it directly to the person, write down your whole message on paper first. This can help you to clarify what you want to say and how you can say it. Just remember that even if you stumble upon your words, don’t stop mid-way. Don’t be afraid to talk things out. Let your voice be heard.

Information for this article was provided by:

  • Taking Charge! A Guide for Teenagers: Practical Ways to Overcome Stress, Hassles and Upsetting Emotions by Dr. Sarah Edelman and Louise Rémond, Foundation for Life Sciences

Acknowledgements: This article was partially developed by youth and staff for

Problem Solving

Step-by-step problem solving

Below are 8 steps you can follow when faced with a problem

Problems are a normal part of life. You can think of them as challenges—like a puzzle to be solved—or you can think of them as burdens that you are powerless to resolve.

Your willingness and ability to solve problems has a huge effect on the way you feel, and largely determines whether or not you become frustrated, despondent or depressed. In some cases the solutions are pretty obvious—you know what you need to do to fix the problem. In other situations, the solutions are not clear and you’ll need to consider lots of possible options before you can find the best one.

When you’re confronted with a problem there are ways to deal with it.

How being faced with a problem might affect you

When you’re faced with a problem, it’s not uncommon to feel:

  • Overwhelmed

  • Stressed or anxious

  • Annoyed and frustrated at yourself or others

  • Down or depressed

  • Excited by the challenge

  • Confused

  • Angry

  • Pressure or expectations from yourself or others

  • Physically sick, including headaches or nausea

  • Distracted or finding it hard to concentrate

  • Tired, especially if you’re sleeping too much or not enough

If you’re experiencing these feelings, it’s important to look after yourself. Take time out to do something that you enjoy. Even though you might not feel like it, exercising and eating well can help. If you want to explore other ways to cope, check out of Developing Coping Strategies article.

Having tools to help you make a decision can help you reach a successful outcome. If you’re finding that your feelings are affecting your day-to-day routine, it’s a good idea to talk to someone you trust. This could be someone like a friend, school or campus counselor or family member.

Focus on solutions

Working through a problem one step at a time can make you aware of lots of possible solutions. This increases your likelihood of getting what you want and helps you to feel more in control.

Sometimes it’s helpful to get ideas and alternative perspectives from other people like family members and friends, although in the end it’s up to you to decide what action to take.

Whenever you’re feeling bad, it is a good idea to ask yourself:

“What is the best thing I can do to resolve this problem?”

If there’s an obvious solution, make a plan of action and get it done. If there isn’t, you might need to take some time to sit down and brainstorm some possible options.

Remember that for most problems, it is possible to find partial or complete solutions. The challenge is to look for the best solutions and put them into practice. Also, it’s important to not act on impulse, no matter how mad or upset you are. If you act on your immediate emotional response, you might do something you will regret later.

Using step-by-step problem solving doesn’t always lead to perfect solutions, but it increases your likelihood of resolving the problem—partially or completely. It might also help you feel more in control of the situation or more confident in your ability to make sound decisions.

Problem solving in eight steps

When you do something towards solving a problem, you usually feel better, even though in some situations there’s not much you can do.

Going through the steps of problem solving might be difficult at first, but will become intuitive with practice.

Step 1: Define the problem

Be specific, because vague descriptions can lead to vague solutions. Without being specific, you’ll find that a whole lot of problems are all tied in together. When this happens, try to separate the problems so you can work on each problem separately.

For example: “I hate my school” can be broken down to:

  • I get upset when people in my class make fun of me.

  • I get annoyed when Mr. Simpson picks on me.

  • I feel tired because I don’t get enough time out from studying.

These are three individual problems, which, although related to each other, are best dealt with separately.

Step 2: Work out goals for each problem

Remember the question to ask yourself is, “What is the best thing that I can do to resolve the problem?” Try to focus on the things that you can do, rather than what you would like to happen.

For example, thinking I would like all the painful people in my class to disappear isn’t a realistic goal because it’s not within your control. However, I would like to have lunch every day with Emmy and Joe is a realistic goal because it’s more likely to be within your control. Similarly, get rid of Mr. Simpson is not a realistic goal, but work out a strategy to help me cope with Mr. Simpson without getting upset is more feasible.

Step 3: Brainstorm lots of possible solutions

Be creative! Come up with as many possible solutions as you can think of. Some of your ideas might be out there, but remember: You aren’t judging or evaluating how good or bad your solutions are at this stage.

For example, some of the possible solutions for dealing with annoying people in your class might be to:

  • Totally ignore them

  • Be rude back to them

  • Be nice towards them regardless of how they speak to you

  • Talk to one or two of them and tell them how you feel

  • Change schools

  • Speak to the principal and ask to change classes

  • Hit them over the head with a hard object

  • Ask your parents to contact the parents of the main culprits

Try to come up with as many different strategies as you can think of, and don’t try to evaluate them at this point.

Step 4: Rule out any obviously poor options

Look for all the ideas on your list that are unrealistic or unlikely to be helpful and cross them out.

For example, hitting someone over the head might really hurt the person and get you in trouble. Would it really be worth it? Is it feasible to change schools, and even if you did, would the same problems follow you? You might also be wary of having your parents contact the other parents, as it could escalate the problem or remove some amount of control you have over the outcome. In some instances, however, the problem could be so severe that getting parents involved is the only thing that makes sense.

Step 5: Evaluate your remaining options

Now you become the judge. Go through the options that are left and write down the ”pros” and ”cons” of each.

For example, being rude back at the other students might help you let off steam (positive), but it might also make the situation more unpleasant (negative).

Being nice toward them in spite of their put-downs may make you feel frustrated (negative), but it might change the way some of them respond to you (positive).

Explaining to the others that you don’t like the way they are treating you might make you feel embarrassed (negative), but at least they will know how you feel (positive).

Ignoring them might be really hard to do and some people find this doesn’t work very well. But if you do it successfully - meaning really ignore them, it might help you feel more empowered (positive).

Step 6: Identify your best options

Once you’ve considered the positives and negatives for each possible solution, it’s time to make a decision. Go through the options and pick out the ones that seem the most practical and potentially helpful.

There may be one option that stands out as better than the others. If there are a few possible solutions, you might be able to implement all of them. For instance, with the above example, you might decide to talk to the people who are hassling you and explain how you feel and what you want. If it happens again, you might then decide to go to your advisor or counselor to discuss the problem and perhaps ask to change classes.

Step 7: Implement the best options

Now it’s time to put your ideas into practice. For example, you might approach one of the girls in your class who makes nasty comments about you and use an “I-statement” to tell her how you feel and what you would like. Try saying, “When you make jokes about me in front of the class, it upsets me. I’d really appreciate it if you didn’t speak about me in that way.”

You might even write down the things that you plan to say so that you have it clear in your mind. If this doesn’t work, your next action might be to go to your teacher or counselor to talk to him or her about the problem. Again, you can write down in advance what you plan to say.

Step 8: How did it go?

The last step is to review how things went. So you tried it out—what happened? Did it solve the problem, or do you need to try another approach? If your current approach worked, then that’s all you need to do. But, if you didn’t get what you wanted, then it’s usually helpful to try a different approach.

What if you can’t fix the problem?

Although problem solving usually helps us find solutions, in some situations, despite our best efforts, we still can’t fix the problem. If you’ve tried a number of strategies and none of them have worked, it may be time to focus on coping strategies.

Try it out

Is there a situation that you don’t like? If you can change it, try working through the steps towards finding a solution to your problem. If not, see how you feel after trying to cope with the situation. What can you say to yourself to accept the situation? What sorts of things can you do to get on with your life in a positive way, in spite of the situation?

Remember that problems are a normal part of life, and that we usually feel better when we do something constructive toward resolving our problems rather than just dwelling on them.

It’s often helpful to go through step-by-step problem solving, using the eight steps described. But, if you can’t solve the problem, it can be helpful to change the way you think about it by practicing acceptance, and moving on with life in a positive way.


Information for this article was provided by:

  • Taking Charge! A Guide for Teenagers: Practical Ways to Overcome Stress, Hassles and Upsetting Emotions by Dr. Sarah Edelman and Louise Rémond, Foundation for Life Sciences, 2005

Acknowledgements: This article was originally developed by youth and staff for

Resolving an Argument

Handling conflict with confidence

A closer look at some tools to use for better communication during an argument or disagreement

Why do people argue?

It is normal to argue or disagree with people. Everyone experiences some conflict in their life. Conflict can occur between friends, family and couples. It can also occur between you and your teachers, co-workers or even someone you barely know.

Disagreements or conflicts with people you see regularly, or those you are closest to, can turn into an uncomfortable and stressful experience. Resolving this kind of conflict or disagreement isn’t always an easy thing to do. Conflict or disagreements with people you know can arise for any number of reasons.

Here are a few:

  • You may be having trouble understanding someone else’s perspective on an issue

  • You might feel that your point of view or perspective isn’t being heard or considered

  • You may have different beliefs and values than someone else

  • Your needs may conflict with someone else’s needs

  • You may not be happy about how someone is treating you

  • You may be feeling stressed, anxious or angry about something and need to address it with another person

How to resolve your differences

Approach them in person. If it’s at all possible, try to meet with the person so you’re face to face. If you’re unable to meet in person, avoid having this difficult conversation over text. It’s hard to understand what either of you mean when you can’t hear it in their voice and things can easily be taken the wrong way. Phone calls are a much better option if you’re speaking long distance.

Be mindful. Talking to the person about your disagreement can be helpful as long as it is done in a mutually respectful manner and is most effective when both parties can talk calmly. Make sure it is done in a constructive way by thinking about the points you want to express. How you discuss your differences will be very important to come to a conclusion that all parties will feel happy about. It can be easy to get back into an argument while you are trying to resolve it, and that’s okay. It might just mean you have more work to do in addressing all facets of the issue, so that everyone’s needs are being met.

Allocate time to talk. It’s not a good idea to spring the discussion on the other person, unless you’re in the right time and place. Tell them calmly that you want to talk to them about the disagreement at a time when you can both be present with each other.

Gain an understanding of each other’s perspective. To help understand why the disagreement started, it may help to ask questions about their point of view. It is important to make sure that when you are listening to the other person’s perspective; you are actually listening and not adding your opinion or thinking of a response. You will have the opportunity to tell your side or give your opinions. When it is your turn, nicely remind the other person that you gave them the space and time to tell their side of it and it is now your time. You both might even prefer to write down your point of view so you both can read it and think about what the other has said. Then you can come together and discuss the disagreement knowing where each of you stand. Remember, there is a possibility that the other person might not want to talk about it. Writing down your point of view and how you feel might be helpful to you, but you have to prepared that the other person might not want to discuss the conflict with you or may take what you said wrong because they couldn’t hear how you meant for things to come across.

Explain how you feel. When you talk to the person, tell them how you feel. Your feelings are different from your perspective or point of view. Using “I feel ____ when you ___” helps keep the conversation open without blaming the other person. Everyone has a right to their feelings. You can try to explain how you feel as a result of their opinion, e.g. “I felt that you wouldn’t hear me out” or “It felt like you were judging me”. Try not to blame them or make statements about their perception of the problem. This should be about how you felt. Give them the opportunity to tell you how they felt too. Being in touch with each other’s feelings can make both parties more empathetic of the other’s experience.

Use a mediator. You may need someone else to help you resolve the disagreement. Asking another person to act as a mediator can help you both get another perspective on the disagreement. It is important that this person is neutral in both of your eyes (e.g. having your boyfriend mediate a conflict with your best friend might not be the best option). Anyone can act as a mediator including friends, a counselor, a supervisor or a psychologist.

Conflict with someone at work or at school. If you have a disagreement with someone you work with and you feel that you cannot resolve your differences together, you might need to contact your human resources department for the procedures to resolve the issue. They may tell you to discuss the matter with your supervisor or they may handle the conflict. Each employer is different on how they handle conflicts for employees. If you have a conflict with someone at school who may have a higher status than you (e.g. a professor, school administrator or teaching assistant), there are usually counselors or ombudsman that can help you resolve these conflicts.

Agree to disagree. Resolving a conflict should not be seen as a contest to see who won or who was right or wrong. Even after taking steps to resolve a conflict, you might not still be able to agree. If the person you are in this conflict with is an important person to you and their relationship with you is one you want to keep, it is okay to agree to disagree on this issue.

What if the disagreement turns into a yelling match?

If the argument is becoming too heated, it may be best to put a pause on the discussion. Tell them you need a little space to collect your thoughts and leave the room for a while. Take a walk and allow yourself to process what just happened. When you are both level headed again, re-enter the conversation. It can be easy to say things you didn’t mean if you don’t allow yourself the space to cool down.

Although not every argument or disagreement will lead to the extinction of a relationship, there are times when it does. If neither of you can come to an agreement, and the issue is extremely important to one or both of you, it may be good to take a break from each other. There are some issues that cannot be resolved, and that’s okay. It’s all a part of this process we call life.

Acknowledgements: This article was partially developed by youth and staff for

How Talking to Someone Can Help


When you need to get it off your chest

How can talking about your feelings help?

Talking about your concerns can give a different perspective

Are you having a rough day? Have you been feeling down for a while? Everyone goes through tough times, and no matter how long you’ve had something on your mind-whether for just a few hours or months-it’s important that you talk to someone about it. You don’t have to confront your setbacks alone. Here are a few of the benefits of talking to someone about how you’re feeling.

Sort through your feelings. Talking about your feelings can help you make sense of them. Sometimes, just verbalizing what is upsetting you to someone you trust can help you sort through your feelings, or make the situation clearer.

Put things in perspective. If you’ve been keeping things to yourself, a situation seem more overwhelming than it actually is. The person you talk with might help you see the situation in a new or different perspective. Someone outside the situation might also be more neutral about what’s going on because the outcome won’t affect him or her personally. The person you speak with might also suggest options that you had not thought about before.

Release tension. Talking through your concerns can also be a great way to vent and release pent-up tension. Just “getting the problem out” can help you feel better. Not only does it feel great, but it can also give you new insights into what’s happening in your life.

Who should I talk with?

Deciding who you want to talk to is an important first step. It’s important that you can trust the person you decide to speak with. You might want to talk with a friend, or someone slightly older, or a family member. Sometimes potential helpers may not have the experience or knowledge to provide the advice or support you need.

Depending on your situation, you might also want to speak with a professional, like a teacher, counselor, doctor or nurse. If it’s necessary, each of these individuals can point you in the direction of someone specially trained to help you cope with your specific issue. If you can’t find someone you know to talk to, or talking to someone you know might feel too embarrassing, you might want to try youth helpline YouthLine at 1-877-968-8491 or by texting teen2teen at 839863, where trained individuals will listen to you. You can call 24/7 to talk with someone if you are in crisis, or call between 4pm and 10pm PST to specifically speak with youth.

Sometimes it isn’t easy

If you’re used to bottling everything up, it can make it very hard to actually talk about what’s going on. Just know, no matter how much or how little you share and get off your chest, you’re allowed to take time to process your feelings and to become comfortable with sharing yourself. Once you find someone that can honor your story and hold space for you to talk freely, you’ll find it much easier to continue doing so. Remember that it’s okay to move at your own pace.

Acknowledgements: This article was partially developed by youth and staff for