How to get the most of your teenage years and deal with the rough stuff. Learn to recognise what's wrong and prioritise dealing with it. Find where and how to get help whether or not you need professional help.

What's it like being a teenager?

Becoming a teenager is a landmark on the way to growing up. It's the real start of developing who you are and who you want to be, questioning everything and asserting your independence. You're not a kid any more and you don't want telling what to do but sometimes you could do with a little help (even if you don't want to admit it).

It can be great, or it can be awful. If you're not always having the time of your life, you're certainly not the only one and you really don't have to go it alone.

Communication breakdown?

 It's also a time when you may find it very hard to relate to adults and your parents in particular!


Where are WE coming from?

A different place to YOU! 
Find out why "teenagers are idiots", why you should listen to adults, and how your brain makes you "awesome" in your teens.
We can't help it, and nor can you.


Rough stuff stops you getting on with your life and achieving your potential. It affects your general well-being and threatens your mental health. Ignoring your problems doesn't make them go away. You're meant to be young and having fun, aren't you? We'd like to help you do that by learning to cope with the rough stuff and to build your defences against it, to make the most of whatever you've got, and to aim for bigger things however hard it might seem for you to get ahead. 

Where are YOU coming from? 

smiley ball A nice comfortable home with plenty of money coming in, posh cars and exotic holidays, a school where passing exams is encouraged and the kids in your class are just like you and behave themselves? Academic high flier with prospects? Are you one of the in crowd? Can you tell your parents or carers  pretty much anything, safe in the knowledge that they will not only care and understand but be willing and able to help you? Feel secure and cared about? Comfortable with who you are? Not afraid of what other people might think, say or do? Nothing much to worry about?

Or is your home really a bit of a dump, nobody has a job and money is always tight, being clever at school is a reason to get beaten up, and being different is just asking to get picked on? Struggling 

unsmiley ball

at school or work? Made to feel you could never achieve anything so why bother to try? Feel lonely and like a complete outsider? Would your parents or carers be the last people you'd want to tell anything because they wouldn't understand OR care, would either be completely useless in terms of help or even completely flip and take it out on you? Feel like nobody knows or cares? Not comfortable with who you are or how you look? Got lots to worry about?  

worried teen boyThe truth is almost certainly somewhere between these extremes but it would be a very rare teenager who didn't ever need some help, advice or support, never worried about what the other kids said or did, and never ever felt confused, a bit lost, hurt or angry and thought no-one else was on their side or understood, let alone cared.  


teen curled upWhatever your background, whether or not there is anyone out there for you to trust, whether anyone else believes in you or not, here is a place where you can forget what other people expect from you or think about you, what anybody else would say, whether you parents would be shocked or angry, whether your mates would take the mickey, whether you think no-one else even cares about you -

A Guide to Rough Times  (GTRT) covers loads of things which can really hit you hard - like depression, bereavement, self-harm, sexuality, eating problems, getting involved in drugs, gangs or criminal behaviour, running away from home, forced marriages, and family break-ups.

We're not saying that all of this happens to every teenager and you all have a terrible time, but we're not pretending it doesn't happen either, including when you're under the legal age. There's no "normal" or "nice" about it - it's about being ok with yourself, the people around you, how you live your life and deal with whatever comes your way.

It shows you where to get information and a whole lot of help from people who KNOW you are not the only one, who understand how you feel, who won't judge and don't tell.

 And if you don't feel you need it now, you probably know somebody else who does. Some of your mates won't even bother to look at this site. Be a friend and tell them about it. If your parents or carers haven't got a clue, they might learn something from it too.

 You wouldn't go to a car mechanic and ask him to fix your computer, would you? So find out how to get expert help for whatever's giving you a rough time, especially if you think you need professional help. That's what it's there for. There is a special department, called CAMHS for short, for children and young people with mental health problems if you need their help.

What if you're not a teenager?  

Just because you're not a teenager, it doesn't mean you don't know what it's like to have a rough time. At present there is no Guide to Rough Times for pre-teenage children, - there is no reason you can't look for help here if you are having the same problems, although some of the information won't apply because of your age. Either way, Childline is available for all children to contact at any time. You can also look at the CPFT site "find help" section for children which offers help and support to people under 13.  

Out of your teens already? the same problems may still be following you around. 

Many of the services we've suggested will deal with you whatever your age, others are specifically for younger people and others only for over 18's but don't be afraid to ask for help or information.  

Are you a parent or carer of a teenager?  

Well done for finding this page! If your teenager is having a rough time - or giving you one - you probably need some help too. We hope to develop a special, separate section for you later, meanwhile you might want to see what we've got to say about problems affecting teenagers and see for yourself what help your teenager can find through GTRT. The people who can help them often can also help you.   

Get your head round

The Guide to Rough Times and nobody even needs to know unless you want them to. There's no shame in knowing when your problems are bigger than you. Or in deciding you do need professional help. 

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The page was last updated on 09 October 2014 by aji.kuriakose.

This is a printable version of https://www.cpft.nhs.uk/guidetoroughtimes?pr=