The youth-written stories in Represent give inspiration and information to teens in foster care while offering staff insight into those teens’ struggles.

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Mental Health (100 found)
Note: These stories are from Represent and its sister publication, YCteen, which is written by New York City public high school students.
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When Samira is sent to a mental hospital she feels trapped, until a sympathetic social worker helps her open up. (full text)
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D.C.M. realizes she has depression when she's in high school and is filled with self-loathing. Two good therapists help her be more kind to herself. (full text)
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Psychotherapist Russell Saunders explains how to heal from a parent's abuse or neglect, how to make boundaries with those parents, and what needs to happen before you can forgive them (full text)
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The writer adopts a tough persona, squelching his own feelings. He alienates his girlfriend, loses his son, and almost ends his life. He finally gets real and turns his life around. (full text)
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J.G. has a sad life and sometimes acts out in unhealthy ways. She's put on way too much medication, which doesn't feel like a solution. She tries to change her way of looking at things instead. (full text)
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The writer goes through a lot of tribulations after she ages out -- money and job troubles, bad roommates, and mental health issues. Through it all, her apartment holds her down (full text)
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Elvia's mom dies when she's a senior in high school. In despair, she shuts down, but heals with the help of therapy, writing, and caring friends and mentors. (full text)
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E.F. looks back on her mother's abuse and her own fighting at school. She is placed with her grandmother at age 11, goes to therapy, and learns to handle her own feelings. (full text)
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When D. Morrison becomes depressed, her mother is unsympathetic and scornful. D. finds good therapists and learns not to make herself vulnerable to her mom and to accept her limits. (full text)
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Robert's parents neglect and abuse him, and he's sent to a group home. Feeling unheard, he acts out until he receives love and attention from mentors, a therapist, and his grandmother. (full text)
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The author, frustrated by abuse and unfairness, fights. After hitting a pregnant girl, she realizes she must stop and does, with the help of yoga, running, and therapy. (full text)
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The writer is treated badly and inconsistently by her mother and grandmother. She cuts herself to relieve her pain, but moves toward stopping with the help of music, reading, and writing. (full text)
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A therapist explains how abuse and neglect can lead to isolating behaviors like fighting, cutting, substance abuse as well as more abusive relationships. She also gives practical tips for quitting self-destructive habits. (full text)
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Vanessa lives with relatives, friends, in group homes, in an office, in supportive housing, and finally in a market-rate apartment with friends, which is her favorite set-up. (full text)
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Paris gets shuttled around foster care feeling unloved and unlistened to. Ms. Howard is the first foster mother to ask him what makes him comfortable, and she earns his trust. (full text)
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When J.G. finally gets her own apartment at age 22, she thinks everything's finally OK. Instead, her years in care haunt her. (full text)
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Psychotherapists Sylvia Lester and Marina Stolerman of The Fostering Connection give tips on how to make a house or apartment a home and how to live on your own. (full text)
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Zaniyah gets pregnant before she ages out, in part to have the family she didn't have in foster care. Her NYCHA apartment has problems, but it does have family. (full text)
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Chris is bullied relentlessly in middle school, which makes it impossible to learn. The school won't help him, but he finally gets a safety transfer to a school that doesn't tolerate bullying. (full text)
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Erica ages out of care pregnant and has three more children. The foster care system provides her with services to help her parent better. (full text)
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Selena details how her socio-therapist gained her trust by listening to Selena, praising her, and not judging her for her past behaviors. (full text)
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A former foster youth, now 28, shares his advice for healing and growing as an adult, including therapy, art-making, yoga, and positive friends. (full text)
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An abused, traumatized person is much more likely to thrive with at least one close, trusting relationship. This issue looks at how those connections are made and how they help. (full text)
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The author is removed from her abusive mother at age 11, and starts therapy. It's good for several years, but as she grows up, she needs a therapist who's less parental. (full text)
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Shateek feels alone in the world until he meets his therapist Fall. She shows interest in his writing and sports and listens to him, and he turns his life around. (full text)
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Carlos reviews a novel, 13 Reasons Why, that explores a girl's reasons for suicide. The hero of the book, and Carlos, realize that you need to pay attention to signs that peers are suffering. (full text)
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Psychotherapist Russell Saunders explains how to heal from a parent's abuse or neglect, how to make boundaries with those parents, and what needs to happen before you can forgive them (full text)
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Sharlene chooses to go into care when her mother is diagnosed with schizophrenia. She gets a good foster mom, but she acts out and has to move. (full text)
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Psychologist Sylvia Lester explains how to distance yourself from past abuse. (full text)
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The author endures a sexual assault when she's 8, and some of her family blames her. She slowly learns who she should trust and benefits from opening up to the right people. (full text)
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V.N. pinpoints five big problems she experienced in foster care. For each one, she offers suggestions for system change and suggestions for things youth can do. (full text)
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J.G. introduces the issue on well-being, and how self-awareness leads you to take better care of your body, mind, and soul. (full text)
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A.C. goes into care and gets put on powerful psychotropic drugs. She is sad and lonely, but not, she tells her therapist, mentally ill. (full text)
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Dr. Fadi Haddad explains why and how he makes the decision to put psychiatric patients younger than 18 on psychotropic medication. (full text)
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Victor describes the methods he's used to control his anxiety and depression, including therapy, medication, exercise, and mindfulness. (full text)
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The author has trouble paying attention in school. She is put on various drugs, but educational and emotional supports end up helping her more. (full text)
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The author is raised by a volatile and abusive mother. When she finds herself acting like her mother and screaming at her boyfriend, she is appalled. She gets therapy. (full text)
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Robert describes how his therapist helped him face the pain from his father's abuse, neglect, and abandonment. She also helps Robert envision a better future. (full text)
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The author suffers from the death of her grandmother, her mother's mental illness and withdrawal, and going into foster care. Isaac, first her friend, then her boyfriend, supports her, but she drives him away with her cutting. (full text)
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Natasha interviews therapist Rebecca Weston about how to keep family trauma in your past from messing up your new relationships. (full text)
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Lavell shares her experience of applying for, then choosing between low-income public housing and supportive housing for mentally ill New Yorkers. (full text)
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Lavell summons the courage to stand up to her abusers and later shares her experiences with a supportive therapist so she can begin healing. (full text)
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When Joy gets kicked out of a foster home she likes and goes to her 16th placement in six years, she realizes she has to follow rules she might feel are unfair. (full text)
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After having suicidal thoughts and cutting herself, V.N. is committed to a psychiatric hospital, but she doesn't think she's crazy. Harming herself seems to help her escape the trauma of sexual abuse. (full text)
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Young adults who weren't taught as children how to handle difficult emotions are more likely to develop mental health issues as adults. (full text)
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Trauma is an experience so upsetting that the mind cannot make sense of it. By learning to tell the story of your trauma through therapy, you can begin to put it behind you. (full text)
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Therapy and trusting relationships with people can help teens manage stress and difficult emotions, and recover from childhood trauma. (full text)
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Cynthia experiences panic attacks and dissociation, a foggy state where her mind separates from her body. A therapist helps her realize that these are defenses against trauma from the past, which she can now begin to face. (full text)
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Dr. John DiLallo describes how psychotropic medications work, why they can be helpful, and also their limitations. (full text)
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Due to a painful childhood, Erica suffers from bipolar and borderline personality disorder. She sabotages her therapy treatments -- until she becomes pregnant. Erica stepped it up in therapy so she can be a good mother. (full text)
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A therapist explains why therapy is important, how it works, and why it can be better than talking to a friend or family member. (full text)
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Represent writers share tips on how to relieve stress, from meditation to writing to watching comedies. (full text)
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Otis is teased in school because he has cerebral palsy. He attempts suicide, then uses therapy to find better ways to communicate and express his anger. (full text)
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For years, V.N. is sexually and physically abused by her father. She goes into foster care, grapples with cutting and suicide attempts, and finds some relief from talk therapy and antidepressants. (full text)
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Desmin admits he's no angel in school, but feels his teachers unfairly single him out, waiting for him to do something wrong so they can pounce. He wants to succeed, but can't break the cycle of anger that has him in danger of being tossed out. (full text)
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As a child, Natasha escaped into an imaginary world to deal with pain. Now she wonders if the habit has outworn its usefulness. (full text)
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Aquellah works hard in therapy to release her inner child—the feelings and longings she was never allowed to express. (full text)
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Natasha interviews a therapist to explain how therapy works and why it’s important for kids who’ve suffered trauma. (full text)
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Andrew’s therapist helps him deal with his anger and sadness about not living with his family. (full text)
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Maya has been in therapy for years, but has had a hard time finding a therapist she feels comfortable with. (full text)
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La’Quesha learns about a kind of therapy, CBT, that helps people change their behavior by changing how they think about it. (full text)
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Because of an abusive past, the writer dissociates from reality and cuts herself. Yet she has the tiniest bit of hope that all is not lost. (full text)
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Adrienne Williams-Myers, a licensed clinical social worker, explains how therapy can support families who are reunifying after foster care. (full text)
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Hattie strives to change her negative ways of thinking. She reminds herself of her good qualities and does things she enjoys. (full text)
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Diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, Erica learns to manage her emotions through therapy and medication. (full text)
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Mayra is skeptical about participating in music therapy, but the program helps her express her feelings. (full text)
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To deal with her abusive past, Christine mentally dissociates and begins to cut herself. Letting out her feelings helps her stay present.
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A therapist explains why people cut themselves and how they may be able to stop. (full text)
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Growing up in a violent, dysfunctional household, Linda becomes depressed and suicidal. Therapy helps her express her feelings. (full text)
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The writer, who is diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, had many therapists while in the system. She describes the two who helped her the most. (full text)
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Charlene explores why foster youth are often resistant to therapy. (full text)
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Gloria enjoys therapy until she’s switched to a therapist she doesn’t like and is put on medication that makes her feel like a “lab animal.” (full text)
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A therapist describes the pros and cons of anti-depressant medication. (full text)
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A psychiatrist talks about the pros and cons of medication and therapy. (full text)
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When Samira is sent to a mental hospital she feels trapped, until a sympathetic social worker helps her open up. (full text)
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Christopher begins to forgive his mom, and they start family therapy together. (full text)
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At a youth shelter, the author gets connected with a good therapist who helps him release his anger over the abuse he suffered as a child. (full text)
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V.M.'s father abandons the family and then berates V.M. for crying when his mother dies. V.M. learns how to be a better man by tuning into good role models and his own compassion. (full text)
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Teasing drives the author away from her family and into a deep depression. She contemplates suicide, but therapy helps her begin to feel better. (full text)
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The writer finds a supportive community at a day treatment center for depressed teens. (full text)
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When Janelle returns home after three years in foster care, she finds it hard to readjust. Family therapy helps her and her mother build a new and better relationship. (full text)
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Natasha connects with her latest therapist in a way she never managed in the past. (full text)
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The writer feels ignored and abandoned by her mother, which leads her to cut. The support of others helps her stop. (full text)
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Megan has always been an obsessive thinker and worrier, but when her anxiety threatens her friendships, she consults a psychologist and begins to understand her anxieties. (full text)
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Antwaun becomes dependent on drinking and smoking weed to deal with painful emotions, but gradually finds ways to deal with life without being high. (full text)
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Natasha asks a therapist to explain how anger from the past can affect your future. (full text)
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The author interviews a social worker about the symptoms, causes, and treatment of mental illness. (full text)
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Janae escapes from her troubled family by reading books. (full text)
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Physically abused by his mother, Miguel takes out his anger on others by being a bully and on himself by attempting suicide. (full text)
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Miguel describes the programs that have tried to help him manage his emotions, and explains what works and what doesn’t. (full text)
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Therapist Toni Vaughn Heiniman describes healthy and unhealthy ways to express anger. (full text)
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The writer starts keeping a journal in the 9th grade to deal with family problems. By writing and re-reading her diary, she gains a better understanding of herself and how to handle her emotional problems. (full text)
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By writing and re-reading her diary, the author gains a better understanding of herself and how to handle her emotional problems. (full text)
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After her father abandons the family, the writer feels weighed down by family responsibilities. Physical symptoms of depression and thoughts of suicide eventually drive her to talk to a counselor, which helps. (full text)
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Emily finds that walking in nature lifts her spirits. (full text)
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Alina suffers through a terrible depression, but she’s determined to fight back. A counselor and her family help her feel less alone. (full text)
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After telling a counselor that she’s being abused, the writer is removed from her home and gets the help she needs to recover. (full text)
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Psychologist Patti Feurereisen talks to Mimi about how to recover from the trauma of rape. (full text)
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The writer lives in a violent home and has to physically break up fights between her parents. She compensates by becoming the perfect kid, but her empty feelings lead to hallucinations and she starts seeing a counselor. (full text)
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With his fourth therapist, the writer finally finds someone he can open up to. (full text)

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