Teens Uncategorized

Teens and Adults with Anxiety and Special Needs: Links and Resources

September 12, 2019
Teen with down syndrome

By Janis D. Gioia, MAEd and Elise C. Gioia

A note from Jan:

As an early childhood educator, I began Comforting Anxious Children to help “little ones” with anxiety disorders and other special needs.

I had an artist design the teddy-bear-in-a-parachute-and-rainbow-themed website artwork with the intention of reaching an audience of parents and professionals who want holistic resources for helping young children, birth to third grade.

Comforting Anxious Children has been reaching this early childhood audience, all over the world, for about a year and a half.

But I have been surprised by the number of emails I get from parents of older children, teens, and even adults, who visit Comforting Anxious Children to help their children whose ages range from teenagers to adults in their early thirties and beyond.

I’m humbled and grateful that Comforting Anxious Children has helped an older child, teen or young adult.

Artwork aside, the ideas on this site, from aromatherapy, to meditation to soothing stories, to soft therapy dough are useful for all readers, from birth to 100.

Peace, Jan


A Note from Elise

Working with at-risk teens, I know that it’s not just little children who need help with anxiety, depression and other mental health issues.

As a young adult majoring in social work, my interest is bringing mental health resources to underprivileged teens and young adults.

Mental health care and resources are for all people, regardless of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic background, education and abilities.

Warm wishes, Elise


And in response to the many readers who have asked us for a list of resources to help “older” children, teens, young adults, and those parents who are now preparing to help their children with special needs transition into adulthood, here is a list of links to resources that may be helpful:


For Anxiety/Depression and Mental Health Challenges:

Mindfulness for Teens

This is a nice website to teach teens about mindfulness.  It has videos, apps, and recordings of guided meditations.

Project UROK

This is a fabulous and very teen friendly site.  According to their website, “Project UROK is an inclusive community with expert mental health resources for teens and young adults who are committed to ending the stigma and isolation of struggling with mental illness.”

What I really like is their videos of “actors, Olympians, authors, comedians, business people and influencers each sharing a message of hope to their younger selves about growing up with a mental health or learning disorder.”

I think it is so important for teens and young adults to see the stories of others who have struggled with mental health challenges, learning disabilities, and struggles of any kind.  Knowing that you aren’t alone, that you aren’t the only one who struggles is so empowering!

UROK offers personal stories from everyday teens and is a safe space where contributors can share their mental health struggles.  Great resources too.



Part of NAMI (The National Alliance on Mental Illness)

According to their website, “OK2TALK is a community where teens and young adults struggling with mental health conditions can find a safe place to talk about what they’re experiencing by sharing their personal stories of recovery, tragedy, struggle or hope. Anyone can add their voice by sharing stories, poems, inspirational quotes, photos, videos, song lyrics and messages of support in a safe, moderated space. We hope this is the first step towards helping you get the support you need to feel better.”


This site is also part of NAMI, and it offers readers a community to share their mental health journeys, personal stories and videos.  The website lets readers know that they are not alone.


According to their website, Voices4Hope “is a place for teenagers and young adults with mental health conditions to find resources and stigma busting information that can help us lead happy and independent lives.”

A Guide to Help Overcome Low Self-Esteem

With so much media pushed on us showing airbrushed models, or celebrities with chefs and personal trainers, it is no wonder that people with disabilities often experience low self-esteem.

A large number of our injured soldiers struggle with low self-esteem when their bodies are no longer capable of doing what they were trained to do. We have made some headway on reducing the negative messages portrayed in media, but there is still a long way to go.

The great staff of 449 Recovery has written a Comprehensive Guide to Overcoming Your Low Self-Esteem to help people struggling with low self-esteem caused by mental illness or physical challenges.


For Teens with depression in The United Kingdom:

The guide below offers plenty of valuable information such as:

  • Depression and mental health in the UK today.
  • The different types of depressions and how each condition affects people in different ways.
  • How to spot the signs and symptoms of depression in both men and women.
  • Questions to ask yourself if you think you might have depression (including an online questionnaire)
  • Where to seek help and support for mental health, depression, and suicide the UK.

For University Students struggling with mental health in The United Kingdom:


This link is also listed under another heading but I’m including it here as well.


Diagnosing Depression – Your Guide to Depression & Mental Health in the UK

For teens with mental illness, substance abuse and victims of bullying:


It has great resources (some I listed above) on helping teens with mental illness, substance abuse, bullying, etc.


For teens with problems with drug abuse and addiction and mental health challenges:

Drug abuse and addiction are often problems that occur in teens and adults with other mental health challenges.

DrugRehab.com supports teens and their families by providing resources and tools related to drug and alcohol abuse.

The links below are a great resource for teens and their families:



Anxiety Quiz:

Maryland Recovery, a drug abuse and addiction counseling center has developed a quiz to help distinguish “normal” anxiety from anxiety that might indicate an anxiety disorder.

The professionals at Maryland Recovery have found that substance abuse and anxiety go hand in hand.

It’s common to see those with untreated mental health illnesses abuse drugs as a coping mechanism, or even vice versa. If you think you have developed an anxiety disorder, it’s important to seek treatment and support for it.

Here is a link to their anxiety quiz:



Resources for College Students Struggling with Mental Health Challenges

The link below is informative with many helpful resources.



Resources for Special Needs/Disabilities/Differently-Abled

For children, teens and adults with special needs  or disabilities, or those who are differently-abled (choose the term that you are most comfortable with) there are a variety of great organizations that provide resources and support.

The Cerebral Palsy Group offers free resources and guides, online, for anyone affected by cerebral palsy, brain injuries or birth injuries.  By offering online resources, education and support, they can help parents increase the quality of life for their child with cerebral palsy or a brain or birth injury.


Dental Resource Guide

Children with Down Syndrome, Autism or other disabilities may struggle with dental procedures.  (Many adults and children without disabilities have a lot of anxiety surrounding dental visits.) The team at Dentably provided this link full of great resources to help people with Down Syndrome or other special needs have a more relaxing dental experience.



Autism Resources:

Students with Autism
Guide to Helping Kids with Autism Sleep Better
Autism Resource Center
Creating an Autism Friendly Home
Autism Support Network Resources
Moving with Kids with Autism
30 Ways to Celebrate Autism Awareness Month
Traveling with Kids with Autism


Disability Rights/Transitioning out of Special Education Services/Adults with Special Needs

Check out this list of great resources and links from Christy who blogs at wondermoms.org:

Renters Rights for People with Disabilities
Managing Your Child’s Transition to Adulthood
Guide to Remodeling a Home for Adults with Special Needs
Special Needs Checklist: How Disability-Friendly is Your City?
Vocational Training for Adults with Special Needs

I’m also a fan of abilities.com which is a great community for people of all abilities/disabilities, featuring stories, resources, products and great information.

This is only a partial list…please feel free to email me, or send your suggestions for other resources in the comments section and I will get them added to this post.




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