I’ve been staying up past midnight and not getting out of bed until the afternoon recently.  How can I start going to sleep and waking up earlier?

Thanks for your question. Getting good sleep is an important thing everyone can do to stay healthy. There are lots of things that can affect sleep, including our daily activities, whether or not we drink caffeine, and stress. Here are some tips on how to improve your sleep:

  • Have a set schedule. Work on waking up and going to sleep at the same time every day. If your sleep schedule is later than you would like, you can try going to sleep 30-60 minutes earlier each night until it’s a time that works for you.
  • Have a set bedtime routine. This can include things like brushing your teeth, taking a shower, and listening to music. A routine can help your body prepare for sleep.
  • Avoid electronics before bed. While this is easier said than done, try to not use a cellphone, computer, or TV for 1-2 hours before bed.
For more tips on sleep, read our Sleep Health Guide
If you notice you are having a tough time falling asleep or staying asleep, talk to your health care provider. They may be able to recommend other tips, medicine, and/or therapy to help.

Motorcycle Safety

Riding a motorcycle can be a fun and exciting experience, but it requires extra attention to safety.  Check out the road conditions, and be a smart driver by wearing protective clothes and a helmet. It takes a lot of time and practice to be a confident and experienced driver.  Read on for some helpful tips that will help you enjoy riding your motorcycle safely.

How old do you have to be to drive a motorcycle?

The minimum age to drive a motorcycle varies from state to state, but in most states in the US you can apply for a motorcycle license at the same age you can drive a car. Check with your local Department of Motor Vehicles Office (DMV) for information about the laws in your state.

How do you get a motorcycle license?

Depending on the state you live in, you may have to pass a written learner’s permit exam before you can get your license. The exam will test your knowledge of motorcycle safety and traffic rules and regulations. Check with your local DMV before you go to find out what kind of documentation you need to bring with you (birth certificate, identification card, etc.) and whether or not there are fees involved. At the time of your permit test, you may also have to pass a vision exam; again, this depends on which state you live in.

To obtain a motorcycle license, you’ll have to pass a road test. Before your test, call your local DMV to find out exactly what you need to bring with you.

Depending on where you live, you may need to bring the following things to your road test:

In some states, you may have the option of taking a motorcycle training course for licensing and the road test would be waived.

What types of classes are offered for beginners?

One of the best and easiest ways to learn how to ride (and to ride safely) is by taking a motorcycle beginner’s safety course. Taking this course will give you a chance to ride your bike in a supervised setting before traveling on the open road. Beginner rider courses are designed for beginner riders with little or no previous motorcycle experience. Students learn about different types of motorcycles and their controls, and then begin developing and practicing the mental and motor skills necessary for safe riding. Some insurance companies also have lower rates for those who complete a motorcycle training, so check with your insurance company to see if this is a possibility for you.

How do motorcycle laws work?

Motorcycle laws vary from state to state, so the best thing to do is to become familiar with the laws in your state and any other states you may be traveling to. For example, most states don’t allow drivers to carry a passenger until they have a license, and most states require drivers to wear a helmet.

A word about helmets: One of the advantages of wearing a full-faced helmet is that it protects from you from rocks or debris that could hit your face while riding or potentially cause an accident. The main advantage of wearing helmets is that it can protect you in case of an accident and prevent serious problems, including head trauma and brain injury. Regardless of state requirements, the medical providers strongly recommend that you always to wear a helmet when riding.

What should I wear to protect myself while driving a motorcycle?

You’ll need some basic equipment to protect your body from injury:

  • A well-fitting helmet that protects your entire head and face
  • Clothing made out of a durable material such as leather which may help protect your body from injury in of the event of an accident
  • Proper over the ankle footwear that protects the feet, ankles, and legs
  • Gloves made out of a strong material such as leather

If you’re carrying a passenger, he or she should also wear proper riding gear and a helmet.

Do motorcyclists follow different traffic rules?

No. Motorcyclists must follow the same rules of the road as anyone else with a driver’s license. Riders should always use a turn signal when turning (don’t forget to cancel them after the turn), pass on the appropriate side, and follow the speed limit. Always ride with caution when traveling near other motor vehicles; it can be difficult for them to see you.

Things to keep in mind while on the road:

  • When you’re driving a motorcycle (as opposed to a car), you’re not protected by a metal cage and air bags.
  • Motorcycles are smaller in size and have fewer lights than cars, so they’re harder to see.
  • You have to be much more protective of yourself, because other people are going to be LESS aware of your safety than they would of other cars (because they can’t see you as well).
  • A motorcycle is less stable on the road than a car is. Wet pavement from rain and snow and gravel roads are much more dangerous for a motorcycle, especially while making turns.
  • Choose to ride at safe speeds, look well ahead and don’t tailgate, and never drink and ride.

Are there any rules about riding a motorcycle in bad weather?

Although there are no set rules, weather plays a big role in choosing when or when not to ride a motorcycle. If it’s raining or snowing riding a motorcycle can be dangerous. Rain or snow can make it difficult (or even impossible) to see ahead of you and traveling on roads that are wet and slippery can be extremely challenging even for experienced riders. Always check the weather forecast before you get on your motorcycle.

The most important factors involved with motorcycle safety are your knowledge, experience, training, and attitude, along with wearing the proper riding gear and helmet. Check in with your local DMV for upcoming courses to improve your riding skills. Remember, Rider Responsibility starts with the Rider.

I’m 16 years old and when I go to the doctor, my mom insists on staying in the room. I have an upcoming doctor’s appointment and I want to ask some more personal questions. Do I have the right to talk to the doctor without my mom in the room?

This is a great question! Kudos for wanting to begin understanding what it’s like to take charge of your own health, that’s great! It’s important for you to learn how to take responsibility for your health, know what medications you take (if any), and how to use your health insurance.  You will be transitioning to being an “adult” in less than 2 years when you turn 18 years old, so it’s good to have practiced making healthy choices.

It’s totally normal to be a little nervous about asking for your own independence, as it’s a big change for everyone.  Most health care providers (HCPs) would have already asked to see you for “time alone” as part of the visit. So if you think you can have an open conversation with your parents, start there. Explain that you want to start learning about how to handle your own health care. Be honest and let them know that you have questions for your HCP, but you’re embarrassed to ask them with your parents in the room, their reaction may surprise you!

It’s common for health care providers to automatically ask parents to step out of the room during part of your appointment. This gives you time to ask questions or answer questions truthfully without feeling awkward or embarrassed in front of your parents.  If your provider doesn’t do this and you don’t feel like you can have an open conversation with your parents, call your HCP office. Let the office know that you’re planning to come in for an appointment, but that you have some questions you’d like to ask without your parents in the room. Your provider can act as a great buffer between you and your parents. During your appointment, ask about your provider about their confidentiality policy. You need to know if personal information is kept private unless your provider believes there is a danger to you or to others, that you are being abused, or that you are not able to make safe decisions.

I recently found out that I have MRKH (Mayer Rokitansky Kuster Hauser Syndrome) and I was curious, can MRKH affect breast development?

MRKH butterfly in handsThank you for your question. MRKH (Mayer Rokitansky Kuster Hauser Syndrome) is a congenital (occurs during fetal development) problem that affects the female reproductive tract. One in 5,000 females is born with MRKH. MRKH begins during early “fetal” life, when the baby is in the mother’s uterus (womb) and the reproductive tract is beginning to form. The female reproductive tract is typically made up a uterus, cervix, vagina, two fallopian tubes, and two ovaries. Girls who are born with MRKH typically have normal ovaries and fallopian tubes. However, most have no uterus or a just a remnant of a tiny uterus; the vagina is short, narrow, or absent. Some girls born with MRKH may also have only one kidney instead of two. A small number of girls born with MRKH also have trouble with their ability to hear as well as spinal problems such as scoliosis (a curvature of the spine). Because a girl with MRKH has normal ovaries that make estrogen, she will have a growth spurt at the time of puberty, develop normal breasts, and may also feel moodiness once a month. Her ovaries also produce eggs.

However, despite how a girl with MRKH looks like on the inside, it’s impossible to tell a girl has MRKH from the outside. This means that girls with MRKH look just like girls without MRKH. They develop just like any other girls, by beginning with breasts and pubic hair. If you think you may have MRKH because you haven’t started your menstrual periods, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your health care provider (HCP) to discuss your concerns.

Is it possible to still have Anorexia even though I am not underweight? I have some symptoms, but I am overweight. Should I talk to my doctor?

purple eating disorder ribbonThis is a great and important question! Eating disorders, such as Anorexia Nervosa, can affect anybody and do not have any specific “look”. They affect individuals of all body shapes and sizes, genders, ages, ethnicities, and sexual orientations. People of all weights and appearances can experience disordered eating behaviors and also experience serious complications from them.

If you are concerned about your eating and how it is affecting your health, you should definitely talk to your health care provider. There are many health consequences of disordered eating regardless of whether it is diagnosed as Anorexia Nervosa or not. Restricting your food intake can affect vital organs such as the heart, brain, and stomach as well as the skin and hair among many others. Health complications from restricting food can occur regardless of an individual’s weight.

You cannot tell if someone has an eating disorder simply by looking at them. Also, the official criteria used to diagnose Anorexia Nervosa does not include a specific weight requirement. If you have any weight, shape, or eating-related concerns, reaching out to your doctor is a great next step to get the care and support you need.

Voter Registration

If you are 18 or older and a citizen of the United States, one of your most important responsibilities is to vote. Regardless of your race, religion, sexuality, or gender you have the right and privilege to make your vote count. Unfortunately, this was not always the case for U.S. citizens, especially for women and minorities. The United States has come a long way in its mission to give everyone (18 and older) the right to vote!

Why is it important to vote?

There are many reasons why it’s important to vote such as having your voice heard. In the United States, voting is considered your civic duty (a right and responsibility as a U.S. citizen). There are several countries around the world that do not allow some or any of their citizens to vote. However, in the United States, voting is your right. It’s important to remember that your vote matters.

 How old do I have to be to vote?

You must be 18 or older to vote in the United States. Many states allow teens who are between 16 to 18 years old to pre-register for voting. Check with your state or local election office to see if you are eligible.

Where can I register to vote and what should I bring with me?

In all 50 states, you can register to vote (in-person) at: any state or local government office (such as Town or City Hall), The Department of Motor Vehicles (where you get your driver’s license), Armed forces recruitment centers (where you would sign up for the  military), and any government/county assistance offices (such as SNAP/food stamps or WIC).

  • Online or mail-in voter registrations depends on your state.
  • Most states require a government issued ID (such as a license or passport) to register.
  • Once you are registered, you will likely receive a voter registration card in the mail. The card will list your polling location (where you will vote on Election Day).
  • On Election Day, be sure to bring a government issued ID with you such as a license or passport. Depending on your state, you might not need it, but it’s better to be prepared!
  • Remember, if you are unsure of something on voting day, ask for help!

Do I have to choose a political party?

No, you don’t have to choose a political party right away or at all. You can register under “no party preference.” If you don’t select a political party just know that depending on your state, you may not be able to vote in a primary election. In some states you can tell the clerk at the polling place, which ballots you want that day. A primary election is one that is held to determine who will be the Republican and Democratic candidate.

 If I’m not old enough to vote, is there any other way I can become involved?

There are many different ways you can get politically involved. If you support a particular candidate, check out their campaign to see if you can volunteer. Spread the word to your friends, and encourage them to connect with their local polling stations.

It’s important to remember that voting is a personal choice and your right as a US citizen. If you’re unsure who or how to vote, talk to friends and family members, and then form your own opinion.

I started my period last August (at 14 years old), but I haven’t had a period for the last 6 months. I am not sexually active, but I have some of the symptoms in your guide on Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). Should I be concerned?

Thank you for your question. In young women, it’s totally normal to have fewer periods per year, especially for the first 2-3 years after starting your period. In the first year, most girls will have at least 4 periods; the second year, at least 6 periods; and 3-5th year, at least 8 periods. Most adult women experience roughly 9-12 periods per year (roughly 1 per month).  A typical period should last between 3 to 7 days. While you may have only 4 periods in the first year, skipping your period for 6 months is unusual, and you should talk with your health care provider (HCP) to discuss your concerns and any questions about Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).

PCOS affects 1 in 10 women  and is caused by an imbalance of hormones (chemical messengers) in your brain and ovaries. Some symptoms of PCOS include weight gain or trouble losing weight, acne, dark patches of skin on the back of neck or other areas, extra hair growth on the face or on different parts of the body.  PCOS can be treated with medications such as  the birth control pills (helps regulate periods) and healthy  lifestyle changes (such as healthy eating and  exercise).

Afrontar la cuarentena durante el COVID-19

¿Cuál es el objetivo de la cuarentena?

El objetivo principal de la cuarentena es reducir la propagación de la infección limitando el movimiento del público en general y manteniendo a todos seguros y saludables. Es importante participar en la cuarentena porque también puede ayudar a evitar que los sistemas de salud se colapsen por los pacientes con la enfermedad.

¿Cómo se supone que debo sentirme durante la cuarentena?

Es importante recordar que, sin embargo, lo que siente durante este tiempo es normal. Es normal sentirse triste, estresado, confundido, asustado o enfadado durante una crisis.

¿Cómo manejo mi salud mental durante la cuarentena?

Controlar su estrés y bienestar psicosocial durante este tiempo es tan importante como controlar su salud física.

  1. Cuide su cuerpo: duerma lo suficiente, coma una dieta equilibrada y realice actividad física. Si continúa trabajando en casa o en la comunidad, asegúrese de descansar y tomar descansos durante el trabajo o entre turnos
  2. Cree una rutina: mantenga una rutina personal diaria y un horario como vestirse diariamente, tomar una ducha, hacer una lista de lo que desea lograr para crear una sensación de familiaridad.
  3. Manténgase conectado: aproveche al máximo la tecnología y manténgase en contacto con amigos y familiares
  4. Practique estrategias de afrontamiento útiles: utilice habilidades que lo hayan ayudado previamente en momentos de estrés (es decir, bailar, dibujar, cocinar, escribir un diario o hablar con un amigo). Si estás buscando nuevas habilidades, puedes intentar meditar
  5. Evite estrategias de afrontamiento poco saludables – como fumar, alcohol o drogas (a largo plazo, esto puede empeorar su bienestar mental y físico)
  6. Limite el consumo de medios de comunicación: el flujo constante de noticias sobre el brote puede causar más estrés y preocupación. Manténgase informado sobre la situación a través de fuentes confiables, pero practique limitar su consumo de noticias y redes sociales para reducir la ansiedad y evite sentirse abrumado
  7. Tómate un día a la vez: resiste pensar demasiado en el futuro, recuerda que estas son medidas temporales
  8. Busque apoyo: si se siente abrumado, comuníquese con un profesional de la salud o un consejero. Haga un plan de a quién llamar y a dónde ir si necesita más apoyo para las necesidades de salud mental

 

Cómo identificar un problema de salud mental:

  1. Temor y preocupación por tu propia salud.
  2. Cambios en los patrones de sueño o alimentación.
  3. Dificultad para dormir o concentrarse
  4. Empeoramiento de los problemas de salud crónico.
  5. Mayor uso de alcohol, tabaco u otras drogas.

 

¿Cómo puedo mantenerme conectado durante la cuarentena y el distanciamiento social?

Use sus dispositivos electrónicos para conectarse con sus seres queridos llamando, enviando mensajes de texto, enviando correos electrónicos o programando chats de video. Incluso puede programar un tiempo para pasar el rato con amigos o familiares. Pueden intentar cocinar o comer juntos a través del chat de video. Netflix tiene una nueva opción para chatear con amigos mientras mira el mismo programa o película. Incluso hay opciones para jugar juegos de mesa en línea con amigos.

¿Qué recursos de salud mental existen para mí durante este tiempo?

Muchos terapeutas están ofreciendo sesiones a través de visitas virtuales en este momento. Si aún no está conectado con un terapeuta, puede encontrar uno en Psychology Today.  También hay muchas líneas directas de salud mental / bienestar que cuentan con personal las 24 horas del día, los 7 días de la semana a través de llamadas o mensajes de texto:

  1. Crisis Text Line
    1. Text Home al 741-741
  2. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
    1. 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
    2. Español: 1-888-628-9454

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

¿Qué es el coronavirus (COVID-19)?

El coronavirus (COVID-19) es una nueva enfermedad respiratoria que nunca antes se había visto en humanos. Los síntomas a menudo son leves y similares a un resfriado o gripe. La mayoría de las personas infectadas con COVID-19 desarrollarán tos, falta de aliento y fiebre. Sin embargo, las personas con enfermedades respiratorias como el asma o la  fibrosis quística, las personas con sistemas inmunes debilitados o las personas mayores de 60 años pueden experimentar síntomas graves que podrían poner en peligro su vida.

¿Cómo se contrae este virus?

El virus se encuentra en la mucosa, la saliva y/o el esputo de una persona infectada (secreciones de los pulmones). COVID-19 probablemente se propaga cuando una persona infectada estornuda o tose cerca de una persona no infectada. El virus también se puede transmitir al tocar objetos o superficies contaminadas.

¿Cómo puede saber una persona si tiene COVID-19?

La única forma en que una persona puede saber con certeza si tiene COVID-19 es consultar a un proveedor de atención médica, quien luego realizará una prueba especial. Si ha estado expuesto a una persona con el virus o está experimentando síntomas respiratorios leves y fiebre, llame a su médico para determinar si necesita hacerse la prueba. Si tiene fiebre, no tome medicamentos como ibuprofeno o medicamentos antiinflamatorios no esteroideos (AINE). ¡Tome paracetamol o Tylenol, solo!

Cada vez que alguien esté muy enfermo o tenga problemas respiratorios, debe ver a su proveedor de atención médica o ir a urgencias del hospital más cercano inmediatamente.

¿Se puede prevenir el COVID-19?

Hay maneras de reducir el riesgo de que una persona se infecte con el virus COVID-19 (así como muchas otras enfermedades que se transmiten de persona a persona).

  • Evite estar cerca de personas enfermas. No bese, abrace ni comparta tazas o cubiertos con nadie que esté enfermo.
  • Practique el distanciamiento social (mantener de 3 a 6 pies con otras personas)
  • Evite dar la mano a otros.
  • Lávese las manos con frecuencia con agua y jabón durante al menos 20 segundos. ¡Intenta contar hasta 20 diciendo “uno uno mil, dos uno mil …” o canta “Feliz cumpleaños” dos veces!
  • Use desinfectante para manos cuando no pueda lavarse las manos
  • Cúbrase la boca y la nariz cuando estornude o tosa
  • Evite tocarse la nariz, la boca o los ojos.
  • Lleve una mascarilla en público
  • Cambia tu ropa después de salir en público
  • Lávese la cara después de salir en público.
  • Limpie las superficies con un desinfectante cuando alguien de su familia esté enfermo.
  • ¡Vacúnese contra la gripe!

 

Si tiene asma, también debe:

  • Revisar y actualizar su plan de asma con su proveedor de atención médica.
  • Tome su medicamento para controlar su respiración.

How do I deal with burnout in school?

Thanks for your question. Many teens share this concern. Here are some things to consider.

First, it’s important to understand the source of your burnout.

  • Is it because you’re struggling with a specific class (or a few)? Think about seeking out extra support from a teacher or tutor to help you understand the material.
  • Is it related to feeling very busy and tired? Think about making time for self-care and consider whether you can take a break from some activities.
  • Are you feeling unmotivated and/or generally have a low mood? Think about talking with your health care provider to see what can be affecting your mood, and what can be done to help.

Burnout can also be due to a mix of these things or something else.

In general, it can be helpful to check in with yourself about your burnout and take breaks as needed. Some things you may find helpful:

  • Incorporate active self-care into your daily routine. This can include walking or dribbling a basketball.
  • Schedule time for your schoolwork so that you can also schedule time for other fun activities.
  • Ask your friends, parents, or a trusted adult for support.
  • Reflect on your long term goals that are motivating and exciting.
  • Consider taking 1 minute to practice mindfulness. Sit down, take a couple deep breaths, then close your eyes and take a few more deep breaths. Pay attention to how the air feels going in through your nose and out through your month. After 10 to 15 breaths slowly open your eyes.​

I am currently on the birth control pill (BCP). This month I decided to skip the placebo week “sugar pills” and just start a new pill pack. I’ve heard that when you to do this you’re supposed to have spotting, but I haven’t. I have sex regularly, could this be a sign that I’m pregnant or did I just get lucky?

This is a great question, so glad you asked! There are many different reasons why people use the “birth control” pill (BCP.) Some may use the pill  to prevent pregnancy, while others use it for menstrual period regulation (making sure your periods comes at the same time each month), period suppression (stopping your period), hormone replacement, endometriosis,  or cramps.

There are two different ways you can be prescribed birth control pills: the first is cyclic and the second is continuous. For cyclic birth control pills, you take all the pills in a traditional 28-day pill packet and 21 days of the pills contain active hormones and the last 7 days are placebo or sugar pills that don’t contain hormones. There are other variations of pill packets that include 23, 24, 26, or even 28 active hormone pills. During the placebos (sugar pills), the lack of hormones will result in a period.

The second way of taking birth control pills is continuous. During continuous use, you would skip the last 7 placebo or sugar pills and continue on to a new packet. You would be prescribed a larger number of packets of pills to carry you through Continuous birth control pills work best if the pills are monophasic (meaning all one dose, all one color). In some cases, girls do experience irregular periods and spotting with continuous use. It’s important to discuss continuous birth control pills with your health care provider before you begin to taking the pill continuously, to make sure you have the right prescription. It’s also important that you check with your health insurance company to see if you can receive continuous birth control, sometimes there needs to be medical reason for this type of use.

The pill is 99% effective against pregnancy when used perfectly (i.e. taken at the exact same time every single day) and only 91-93% effective against pregnancy with typical use. It’s important to remember that the pill does not protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) so it’s important to also use a condom. If you think you may be pregnant, you need to schedule an appointment with your health care provider (HCP) right away.

How can I exercise when I’m social distancing and stuck indoors?

Thanks for your question. Right now, we are all adjusting to new schedules and life routines. We congratulate you on wanting to make sure to keep yourself healthy by following guidelines regarding social distancing and minimizing your chance of getting the coronavirus.

While lots has changed, it’s important to try to stick to a schedule and be active. Exercise is important for your physical health and can also help relieve stress. Here are some ideas:

Coping with Quarantine during COVID-19

What is the goal of quarantine?

The main goal of quarantine is to reduce the spread of infection by limiting the movement of the general public while keeping everyone safe and healthy. It’s important to participate in quarantine because it can also help prevent the healthcare systems from becoming overwhelmed by patients with the illness.

How am I supposed to feel during quarantine?

It’s important to remember that however you are feeling during this time is normal. It is normal to feel sad, stressed, confused, scared or angry during a crisis.

How do I manage my mental health during quarantine?

Managing your stress and psychosocial wellbeing during this time is as important as managing your physical health.

  1. Take care of your body– get enough sleep, eat a balanced diet and engage in physical activity. If you are continuing to work at home or in the community make sure to rest and take breaks during work or between shifts
  2. Create a routine– Maintain a daily personal routine and schedule such as getting dressed for the day, taking a shower, making a to-do list of what you want to achieve to create a sense of familiarity
  3. Stay connected– Make the most of technology and stay in touch with friends and family
  4. Practice helpful coping strategies– utilize skills that have helped you previously in times of stress (i.e. dancing, drawing, cooking, journaling or talking to a friend). If you are looking for new skills you can try meditating
  5. Avoid unhealthy coping strategies– such as smoking, alcohol, or drugs (in the long term these can worsen your mental and physical wellbeing)
  6. Limit media intake– The constant stream of news reports about the outbreak can cause more stress and worry. Stay informed about the situation through reliable sources but practice limiting your news and social media intake to lesson anxiety and avoid feeling overwhelmed
  7. Take one day at a time– resist thinking too far into the future, remember these are temporary measures
  8. Reach out for support– If you feel overwhelmed reach out to talk to a healthcare worker or counselor. Make a plan of who to call and where to go if you need more support for mental health needs

How to identify a mental health concern:

  1. Fear and worry about your own health
  2. Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  3. Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  4. Worsening of chronic health problems
  5. Increased use of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs

How can I stay connected during quarantine and social-distancing?

Use your electronic devices to connect with loved ones by calling, texting, emailing, or scheduling video chats.. You can even set up a time to virtually hangout with friends or family. You can try cooking or eating a meal together through video chat. Netflix has a new option to chat with friends while watching the same show or movie. There are even options to play board games online with friends.

What mental health resources are out there for me during this time?

Many therapists are offering sessions  through virtual visits at this time. If you are not already connected with a therapist you can find one on Psychology Today. There are also many mental health/wellness hotlines that are staffed 24/7 via call or text:

  1. Crisis Text Line
    1. Text Home to 741-741
  2. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
    1. 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
    2. Spanish: 1-888-628-9454

I have some symptoms of depression. Should I contact someone to test me for depression?

Healthcare providers “test” for depression by asking questions about what you’re going through. Unfortunately, there’s not a blood test for depression just yet! Your doctor will ask about your mood, how you’ve been sleeping, your energy level, and if you’re eating more or less than usual. They may also recommend a test to check your hormone levels, because sometimes hormonal imbalance can cause depression symptoms. It is so great for you to be reflecting on what you’re feeling and interested in finding support! We encourage you to share your concerns with your primary care provider (PCP) and they can help you understand what’s going on, and help you learn about options for treatment. If your mood is causing you to wish you weren’t alive, you should tell a parent or a health care provider immediately, call a crisis line (1-800-273-8255), or go to the emergency room to help you feel safe.

Is it normal that I don’t have a nipple on one side?

Great question.  It’s important for girls to know that no two breasts are exactly the same! Women’s breast and their nipples come in different shapes, sizes, and colors. Girls can be born with one or both nipples missing (athelia) and one or both breasts missing (amastia). These conditions are rare and often accompany rare genetic (a medical condition that is passed down through families) conditions, such as Poland Syndrome.

 

 

A girl with Poland syndrome may have a small or underdeveloped muscle under the breast on one side as well as a small breast on that side and sometimes other abnormalities that can affect the kidneys, spine, or uterus. It’s super important that you familiarize yourself with the shape, size, and colors of your breasts and nipples, that way you’ll know if something seems off. If you have a  concern about your breasts or nipples, schedule an appointment with your primary care provider (PCP).