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Teens are facing a mental health crisis, with increasing rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide. A new report from Crisis Text Line and Common Good Labs provides insight into what teens say they need to improve their mental health.

Social Connection

The top resource that teens said improved their well-being was social connection. This includes connecting with friends, family, mentors, or coaches. Social connection can help teens navigate turmoil and crisis.

Creative Expression

Teens also said that music, writing, and visual and performing arts helped them through difficult moments. Creative expression can allow teens to process their emotions and connect with others.

Mental Health Services

Mental health services were the third most commonly mentioned resource among teens. This includes therapy, counseling, and medication. Mental health services can help teens address the underlying causes of their mental health problems.

Exercise and Sports

Exercise and sports were also mentioned as helpful resources for teens’ mental health. Exercise can release endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects. Sports can also provide teens with a sense of community and belonging.

Books and Audiobooks

Books and audiobooks can provide teens with a sense of escape and relaxation. They can also help teens learn about different cultures and perspectives.

Outdoor Spaces and Nature

Outdoor spaces and nature were also mentioned as helpful resources for teens’ mental health. Spending time in nature can reduce stress and improve mood.


The report provides unique insight into how teens are coping with mental health challenges. The findings underscore the vital importance of in-person social connection for teens. The results may surprise those with a singular focus on remedies like restricting screen time and social media use. They may also serve as a rejoinder to lawmakers who’ve aggressively attacked social media and tech companies for their role in creating the mental health crisis but who haven’t answered for budget cuts that have decimated funding for parks, libraries, art and music education, and extracurricular programming.