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How to help teens struggling with depression and low self-esteem?


​My teenage son is showing signs of depression and it is affecting his ability to relate to his peers in school and in social situations. He has also stated that he has low self-esteem. How can I help him?​


Boys Town - Self Esteem Issues

Thank you for reaching out to the Boys Town National Hotline today. Parenting is not easy, and we can hear you want what is best for your son. Mental health can be tricky to understand and address, so that is great that you are reaching out today!

A good first step would be to have your son complete a mental health evaluation, if he has not already. This evaluation will provide you and your son with a better understanding about what is going on mentally and the best ways to address this. Recommendations on a mental health evaluation can include things like medications, counseling, or even an inpatient stay. It will be helpful to read through these recommendations and come up with a plan on what you and the mental health professional believe is best for your son. Below we have listed some places that provide these mental health evaluations:

Beneficial Behavioral Health Services: 402-697-3923

Boys Town Behavioral Health Clinic: 531-355-3358

Capstone Behavioral Health: 402-614-8444

Children's Hospital Behavioral Health Department: 402-955-3900

Heartland Family Service: 402-552-7400

Another resource you can connect with would be the school counselor. School counselors are a great first step when looking for additional support as it can introduce your son into counseling and then, if needed, they can help you connect with outside counselors that may be more “long-term." If school counseling is not an option, most of the above referrals listed provide counseling services. This could be something that the facility recommends after the evaluation has been completed.

You can provide your son with the information for Boys Town's support program called “Your Life Your Voice." This is a resource for teens and young adults. The website provides articles, tips, suggestions and even a Q&A related to all sorts of topics on mental health, friendships, becoming a young adult, and staying safe. If your son is open to talking about what is going on, he can chat for free with a Crisis Counselor 24/7 via email, texting or calling. This information is located on the main page of the website.

 Parenting can be hard and overwhelming at times, especially as our children continue to age and get into those teenage years. Please know you are not alone in this. You are doing a great job by reaching out and trying to get your son some extra support. If you would ever like to talk on the phone about any parenting questions/concerns you have, or to get additional referrals in Nebraska, feel free to call us here at the Boys Town Hotline, or connect with the Nebraska Family Helpline (which is also 24/7) at 888-866-8660. We would love to help in any way we can!