Meet Abbie, she’s a public high school student who loves to write, it’s how she copes with being a teenager.

One morning Abbie’s mother saw her journal open on the bed. Normally she wouldn’t peek, but something drew her to it. At the top of the page, in red ink, was the question,

I hate feeling this way!!! Why can’t it just stop!???

Abbie has it all. Loving middle-class parents. She plays basketball and runs track. Has a 3.5 GPA. She serves at the neighborhood coffee shop.But Abbie’s feelings are intense, she has depression.And it changes the way she thinks about herself.

Sometimes waves of hopelessness overwhelm her, leading to episodes of feeling worthless with low self-respect. Her parents remind her how good she is, but that irritates her, and she shuts them out.

Abbie needed help. She found it at the Suicide Prevention group run by Catholic Charities in her high school.

Teenage depression and suicide are increasing. Kids can’t escape the stresses of social media and peer pressure. Academic expectations are higher and so are financial pressures. Easy access to alcohol and drugs increases the risk of teenage mental health disorders.

Abbie isn’t alone, children from all backgrounds are identified as “at-risk”. Its why Catholic Charities runs mental health counseling programs for students from pre-kindergarten through high school.

During Abbie’s weekly group sessions, they shared stories and she realized others are struggling too. Together they learn coping skills and begin supporting each other. At her last session she commented, “I liked that I had to open up more, and I know I can talk with you and you’ll understand me.”

“Thanks to the help she’s received, she’s getting back to being ‘my’ Abbie!
What a blessing!” – Abbie’s mom