Posts tagged "Teen Health"

Spotlight x Girls On Bikes!

Break a sweat, floss your style + express yourself as you pedal your way to ultimate movement! Girls On Bikes is a stylish initiative to help empower young urban girls by promoting health and encouraging participation in more recreational activities. Founder Kala makes it her mission to embrace girl power while encouraging teens to express their creativity, strength and physical + mental health.

Let’s get to know Girls On Bikes a little better…

Tell us about yourself – who you are, what you do, who inspires you and why, and what matters to you the most?

I am originally from Harlem; I grew up in Newark. I graduated from Rutgers at age 20. I majored in logistics (managing chain of supply) and fashion. There is a long history of fashion in my family. I did styling after finishing college. I loved everything about it. I decided to build up GOB and come back to styling full time later on.

I love me some Oprah Winfrey. I love watching her interviews. Not only for her business ethics and her work flow. More so because of how she knows what her purpose is in this world. She is all about self-love and being able to recognize what you are meant to do. Once you figure that out, why you are placed here, then you can really go out and flourish.

I love girls so much. Right now girl power is so in right now. I think it is great that we are able to recognize our self worth across all races, all people and women of color. Some girls may not be able to recognize their self worth and what they’re capable of and you just have to bring that to light by telling them you can do this and more. I also care about making my community a stronger place. That’s why it is important for me to do this with Girls on Bikes.

What is Girls on Bikes?

Girls on Bikes is a stylish initiative to help empower young urban girls by promoting health and encouraging participation in more recreational activities. The creation of GOB was inspired by the need for more recreation activities in my community. Our target is young girls and women of color. If you don’t know how to ride a bike, we teach you. I love the moment when someone learns how to ride a bike when they didn’t think that they could. That’s why we do what we do.

I used to ride my bicycle in my community in the west ward of NJ. I feel it is very therapeutic. I would get cute because it makes me feel good. I would go to the park and write in diary. One time this guy said keep on doing what you’re doing because you don’t see a lot of people out here doing that. It really dawned on me wow I really don’t see any other girls riding their bicycles in the community.

I started by highlighting girls actually on bicycles, girls with style. I would style them before the bike rides.  We would go on the bike ride and take photos. Then I would interview them about what it means to be a girl on a bike and how they feel after the ride. Eventually I started a page for Girls on Bikes. Through that I actually got connected to a guy who works in Newark public school system and he said why don’t we do after school program for Girls on Bikes.  First of all I never thought we would do an afterschool program for high school students. That was crazy; I had no idea I could do this. We designed a 6-week curriculum. It is one of the many curriculums we have designed covering topics such as bike history, self-love, affirmations, and natural hair styling tips for wearing a helmet.

What types of opportunities are available for teen girls through Girls on Bikes?

We participate in city-wide events, host monthly bike rides and workshops, and partner with other bike organizations. This summer we offered bike riding lessons every first and third Saturday. Seeing women of color cycling disturbs the norm. Bike riding is for everybody not just for privileged people. Every day you are a piece of art work; its like having art work riding down the block. We love this because we are doing things that people don’t think people in the hood do. It also disturbs the gender norm. From the point of being a person of color on a bicycle to then another level of being someone who can even afford a bicycle to then even being a woman on a bicycle. Why is society uncomfortable with girls biking? Don’t box girls in to only playing with dolls. It is important to expose them to other things. Girls are strong no matter what.

What advice would you give girls who want to follow their dreams and passions but are unsure which direction to go in?

Don’t overthink it. Start small. Do some research. Make the connections and start grinding. Things will come together when you are prepared. Take one step at a time. Everything happens at the right moment.


Fun Faves! Song? Food? Artist? Celeb Crush?

Song-No Limit by G Eazy. Food-Doubles (Trini Dish). Artist- Kanye. Crush-J. Cole


Check out more Girls On Bikes here:

IG: @GirlsOnBikess


Interview by Jasmine Utterback

Clear the Clutter!

How crazy is the world in which we live? Every time you log onto Facebook or check your news outlets, something in this dynamic world is changing.  As you begin to mature and identify with who you truly are, it is important you don’t allow irrelevance to deter you and create imbalance in your life. The things we see and hear on television or the radio or at the mall can become a part of us—even when we are not trying to absorb the energy. Think about it. Have you ever been in a great mood and then get around your girlfriend, who is having boyfriend issues, and instantly feel the negative energy she’s emitting? Before you know it, your day has taken a turn for the worst and you just broke up with your boyfriend who doesn’t even exist. This is a prime example of unsolicited, negative energy being transferred from one party to another. I never knew the importance of maintaining a healthy energy and a life balance until I experienced some of life’s hardships. It’s unfortunate that I had to deal with negative energy in order to acknowledge the importance of good energy; but I am thankful that once I started to evolve into my purpose I realized that in order for my purpose to be fulfilled, I have to have a healthy spirit and maintain a life balance.


What can you accomplish in a room full of clutter, horrible smells, and loud noise—absolutely nothing. There are too many distractions for you to seriously concentrate. This is exactly how your spirit and life work. When you fill your life with junk like (NOT) reality TV shows and Kim Kardashian’s Instagram page, you begin to distract yourself from things that are actually here to help you to become a better person and redeem increases in your life. Yes, it is fun to check in on Hollywood and get the latest fashion or gossip feed, but these things are not your life. If you allow gossip blogs to have control over you, and you find yourself caring more about people you don’t know than what is going on in your community, it is time for you to open yourself to the endless possibilities of being conscious. It is time for you to gain balance and control of your life.

When I am looking for a sense of calm and direction:  I meditate, I pray, and I recently started to engage in yoga. When people try to maintain a healthy lifestyle, they typically forget the spirit is a muscle that must be conditioned as well. When your spirit or inner being is strong and resilient, nonsense will grow irrelevant. It is easier for you to decipher what is important (to you) and what has been placed in your life as a distraction. Engage daily with your inner being through meditation, journaling, yoga, running—any activity that allows you to be alone with yourself and escape your daily routine. Find what works best for you and stick to it.



Sometimes the world is so extremely loud and obnoxious, we couldn’t hear our inner-selves if we wanted to. But being able to mute the intolerable and listen to your inner-self will provide you with the calm and balance your life needs. So find the time to condition your spirit and give yourself a sense of peace nothing else can provide. It will be the beginning to a well balanced, healthy life.

Here’s to health and beauty and everything inside of you. It is the inside that counts!


-Heidi Thomas

Weekend Steez!










Happy Weekend, babes!

Pick ‘ME’ Up!

You’re young, free and simply fearless! Anything dealing with chants, awkward positions and forcing you to be quiet for more than 5 minutes, you’re just not interested in. Well, I’m here to give you a nudge to yogaopen up your mind just a tad. Meditation is not necessarily as intense as you might think. Hey, I even have a problem for sitting still for more than 2 minutes at a time. But turn what you think meditation is into a little, quality “me time.”

Between grueling homework assignments, the parentals screaming down your throat, and you trying to catch eyes with “Mr. Football” in your second period class, your mind is constantly racing. It is a special treat to yourself to allow your brain to chill out a couple of minutes out of the day. Pausing your mind either before you start your day or even after you had a day where you felt your life was falling apart bit by bit , giving yourself time to breathe.


SOMEONE, PRESS THE MUTE BUTTON!– Yes! Grab the remote and hit the mute button! But wait it’s not just the electronics that receive the shut off button, so do you! Chatting with your girls, guidance counselor and boyfriends throughout the day your mouth can use a bit of a break. Instead of exercising your thoughts through talking, flip it and open your ear canals and focus on what your environment is saying.

SHAKE OFF THE STRESS– You are constantly moving all day and that is not including basketball practice after school! But even though you’re constantly in motion, you still don’t take time out to stretch all those muscles throughout the day and shake off all of that pinned up stress.


CLEAR THE CLUTTER!– Time to clean! Not what you think, I know cleaning your room is the last thing you want to hear (which you should) but I’m talking about your thoughts. Having a packed schedule starting from 6:30 am to around 10pm at night, you rarely have time to think about the most important person…YOU! Take 10-15 minutes to focus your mind on what you like or goals you want to achieve. If it’s making Varsity Volleyball to winning a local poetry competition envision your success!

See, so I told you meditation is not the scary, right??


You’re FLY!


The Lifestyle-Beauty Link!

Hello again C.O.R.E readers! In this contribution, I’d like to discuss a few aspects of beauty that are often overlooked: Good hygiene, getting plenty of rest, cutting down on stress, and (of course) exercise!

CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN! -Hygiene plays a CRUCIAL role in achieving and/or maintain beautiful skin and hair. Good hygiene consists of doing things like washing your hands before touching your face, making sure that you remove your makeup before bed, and not going too long between wash days for your hair! (Too long being more than 2 weeks!)

CATCH THOSE Z’s -Most of us fail to realize the importance of a good night’s rest. Beauty sleep DOES exist, and 8 hours a night is the tumblr_mnrf8069Ht1qlximco1_500recommended amount! If you’re experiencing bags or puffiness under your eyes, or even lacking your youthful “glow,” a lack of sleep could definitely be the culprit!

R-E-L-A-X– Balancing school, work, fun, and relationships can be stressful to say the least. While a certain level of stress is unavoidable, it is important that we’re careful not to overdo it. Make time to relax and unwind. Pamper yourself with a bubble bath; lay back and dive into a good book or magazine; try whipping up your favorite meal or dessert! Spend at least 15-20 minutes a day doing whatever it is that is relaxing to YOU*

WORK IT OUT! -Nowadays, exercise doesn’t necessarily mean you have to hit the gym. Dancing around your room to your favorite song, walking the dog, and taking the stairs ALL qualify as “physical activities” …make sure that you’re getting at least 30 minutes of activity a day!

When it comes to the lifestyle-beauty link, time management is a major factor. It may seem a bit intimidating at first, but you’d be surprised to see how easy (and enjoyable) it can be once you get into your own routine! 🙂

-Ashleigh Thornton



Health/Beauty, Latest | by — February 25, 2014

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It seems like every time I talk to a friend, no matter which part of the country she lives, she is suffering from either serious sinus drainage or a nasty cold. Unfortunately, it is that time of the year when the seasons are changing and our bodies are trying to adapt- we sneeze, cough, our eyes water, all in an attempt to fend from the dust and weather changes. As you prepare for the sinus/allergy season and try to keep your body healthy, it is important you feed your body plenty of vitamins and nutrients to build and support a healthy immune system.

Two things you should never live without are: water and an apple. As you know, water is the best way to hydrate the Heidi-300x300body and its organs; and it also flushes the body of toxins and pollutants. Water is pure and clean with no sugars, carbonations, or caffeine. When you are feeling under the weather is it advised you keep yourself hydrated. While sports drinks are effective in hydrating your body, they are also filled with sugars and syrups which can be harmful to the body. When you are sick and seeking a speedy recovery, it is important to keep your diet as clean as possible by avoiding foods and drinks with added sugars and fats that have been over-processed.

An apple is a perfect example of a food that requires little to no prep and is jam packed with nutrients and vitamins. Apples are a great immune booster providing almost 15% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C. I like to munch on apples when I am not feeling well because most of the time when I am sick, I don’t have an appetite. Apples are light, sweet, and satisfying and take very little effort to eat. When your energy levels are low, simplicity is best.

Sometimes the sniffles call for you to wrap up and relax. Try to keep your body warm. Cover your feet with a thick pair of socks, put on some sweats, a long-sleeve shirt, and try to keep your body temperature high. The increase in body temperature will help kill whatever virus is lurking in your system and encourage a speedy recovery. Another way to increase your body temperature is to drink hot tea or enjoy some hot soup. If you are looking to break up congestion and icky mucous, take a medium size pot and bring about 2-3 cups of water to a boil. Remove the boiling water from the stove. Take a dry towel and place the towel over your head, slowly put your face close enough to the pot to be able to inhale the steam, but far enough away so you do not burn yourself. Breathe deep for about 20 minutes. The hot steam loosens the congestion and helps dissolve the nasty mucous. Another similar remedy would be to sit in a steam room or sauna for approximately 30 minutes. The excessive heat from the steam room and sauna too will allow the congestion and mucous to break up and increase your body temperature. If you are looking for a more natural healing process, natural heats and steam are definitely the way to go.

While it is important to take good care of yourself while you are sick, it is just as important to implement preventative measures from getting sick. Multi-vitamins are a young girl’s best friend. The nutrients and vitamins found in multi-vitamins help keep your immune system healthy, build strong muscles and bones, healthier hair and nails, and help keep your body flushed of the toxins and pollutants that can actually induce illnesses. Multi-vitamins are meant to be taken on a daily basis. It is very important you take them as directed because by not doing so you decrease the effectiveness of the vitamin. Take for example birth control- birth control is 99.95% effective as a contraceptive, however, if you miss a day or two you decrease the effectiveness of the pill by almost 20%. Vitamins are like most things in life, in order to see the benefits and results you must remain consistent.

I know we are all ready for Spring weather, short shorts, tank tops, and sandals; but we must make sure we are healthy enough to enjoy the light breezes and warm sunshine. Take good care of your body and fend off any sickness which might come your way. Try to remain as active as possible and sweat whenever you can. Avoid the processed foods and sugary drinks because none of these foods support a healthy immune system. Drink plenty of water and orange juice. The water will keep your body hydrated and the orange juice will help build your immune system. If you haven’t invested in a multi-vitamin, I highly recommend you do so. Different body types and personalities respond better to certain types of vitamins. Vitamin stores such as GNC or Vitamin Shoppe have personnel who will be able to tell you which vitamin will work best for your lifestyle. Do not over work yourself. Be conscious of your commitments and the time you have allowed yourself to relax. Your body responds best when it is well rested and refueled.

Here’s to a new season! Goodbye sub zero temperatures, ice, and snow! Hello Spring and Summer!Get those shorts ready for some play time and box those boots up for a while. Life is so much more fun when lived in the sun.

Until next time ladies, peace, love, new seasons, health and beauty.

-Heidi Thomas

Beauty or Beast!


Health/Beauty, Latest | by — September 30, 2013

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In this day and age, when you analyze a young woman’s profile picture you will notice her eyebrows are contoured with precision, her bone structure is flawlessly highlighted, and her lips are doused with something vibrant.  Too much? Not enough? How is a girl to know when she has gone too far with makeup?  If you are unfamiliar with makeup application knowing what works best for you and what does not can be difficult. We’ve all witnessed the downfalls of improper makeup application. And let’s be honest, if applied incorrectly a young lady can quickly turn from beauty to beast.

Where do you start? You start with your foundation; and a good foundation for anyone’s face consists of a regular cleansing and moisturizing regimen.Heidi Wash your face with a facial cleanser which suits your skin type. Some people benefit from facial scrubs while others need cream cleansers. It might take some time to determine which type of cleanser works best. However, once you do, you will notice a positive change in the overall appearance of your skin. The right cleanser can minimize or even alleviate acne and breakouts. In my opinion, the best way to know which facial cleanser works best on your skin is to sample different products. Another great way to better understand your skin type and its needs is to visit a dermatologist and have your skin tested. The dermatologist will be able to tell you if your skin is sensitive to certain products or if you’ve developed any skin allergies. Because our bodies change over time, a product that previously generated positive results might become ineffective as you grow older.   Be open to change and know that finding a suitable product is trial and error.

While your facial cleanser is extremely important, it is equally important to invest in a good facial moisturizer. Most facial cleansers are paired with a moisturizer. Don’t skip this product!  A good facial moisturizer is very beneficial. When researching different products, you will notice most moisturizers come equipped with ingredients like vitamin E, aloe vera, and/or a degree of sunscreen. The moisturizer will replace the oils and minerals the cleanser has removed. Understand the face is extremely sensitive and needs restoration. The moisturizer will restore your skin’s natural glow and act as a protectant against our air’s most awful pollutants, excess germs, and any makeup you decide to apply.

You do not have to wear mounds of makeup to be considered beautiful or attractive. As a matter of fact, you do not have to wear any makeup at all. But if you choose to enhance your beauty with foundation/powder, mascara, or blush, it is important you know how to apply. Often times, ladies have no idea where to start when it comes to makeup application. Luckily, there are a plethora of YouTube videos that can be used to teach you the unknown. Spend time researching products. Know that every shade is not for every girl. For example, my best friend looks great in peach colored lipstick, while I on the other hand look like a crusty lip clown-not cute! By taking the time to research my skin type and different beauty products I know that nude shades of lipstick don’t compliment my skin tone. If you have extra change (and by change I mean $50) you can visit your nearest MAC counter for a makeover. The cool thing about MAC makeovers is that you can use the $50 makeover fee towards your purchase of whatever products the makeup artist used on your face. Not only can you leave the store looking like fabulous, but you can go home and practice your rendition.

It is not recommended a lady wear makeup for long periods of time or on a day-to-day basis. It is healthiest to take a break from makeup and allow your face “breathing room”. Too much makeup can clog your pores and make for damaged skin. While you want to look great with your make up, you also want to look remarkable without it. But I understand, for some women a day without face decoration is a disaster. So, if you must wear something, choose to keep it light. Apply a little mascara, eyeliner, and lip gloss and stun the world with your natural beauty.

Makeup can be a woman’s best friend or her worst nightmare. It can highlight your beauty or transform you into a beast. You must always remember that makeup should be used to simply enhance the beauty that has already been bestowed upon you. While society has taught us to adorn perfectly manicured beauty, life has taught me to admire simplicity and sincerity. As ridiculous as it may sound, a girl can get lost in a MAC makeover. Don’t be that girl. Stay true to yourself and your natural beauty. Know your look and own it because one can do you better than yourself.  So, when the night calls and you get the urge to highlight your gorgeous attributes, add a touch of blush, a dash of eye shadow, and a bit of bronzer. Top it all off with a little lip tint and have yourself a beautiful time.

Until next time ladies, keep a solid foundation, a tube of lip gloss, and enough self awareness to last a life time. Here’s to health and beauty! Always stay true!

-Heidi Thomas

How Do I Look?


Health/Beauty, Latest | by — September 16, 2013

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One of the first things you say to yourself when you look in the mirror is, “How do I look?” How do you look? Does your weight bother you? Do you wear glasses? Do you have acne? Do you look totally different today than you did six (6) months ago? The fact of the matter is, you have entered a phase in your life where you look and feel like a completely different person. Your body is growing and maturing. As it develops, it is important to receive essential nutrients and vitamins. While you probably aren’t thinking about nutrients and vitamins as you dig into that deep dish, pepperoni pizza, there are all sorts entering your body and contributing to the development of its infrastructure. Think of your diet as the frame to a house. The house would not be able to stand if it did not have a solid, reliable frame to support it. The same goes for your body. If you do not have a healthy, well-balanced diet to support your body, it can’t support itself.Heidi

Be conscious of what you eat. Often times we are too busy to pack lunches or prepare meals.  When we are unprepared for our meals and hunger strikes, we feel forced to eat whatever is most convenient. Unfortunately, convenient choices do not always make for healthy choices. Even though you might feel satisfied from your convenient meal, your body can still be starving for its essential nutrients. The idea is to feed your body for fuel. As a growing teenager, the last thing you want is for your body to run low on energy. Your body is constantly evolving and needs fuel to assist with the changes. It is best to ingest foods that generate energy and brain power- i.e. nuts, lean meats, or fresh fruits and veggies.  Now when you are out with your friends late night and you get a bad case of the munchies, you don’t necessarily have to avoid McDonald’s or Wendy’s, but be conscious of the healthier menu options.  Salads, grilled chicken sandwiches, and smoothies are all fast-food, healthy choices that will keep your body functioning at optimum levels.  Also, don’t be afraid to throw a few healthy snacks in your cute little purse. It won’t matter when hunger strikes or how inconvenient it happens to be, if you have a healthy snack handy. Grab a granola bar, an apple, or even make yourself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. By keeping your body nutritionally satisfied you can avoid those unfortunate hunger pains.

The human body is extremely advanced and adapts quickly to any situation. When you don’t eat, your body assumes there is no food and enters preservation mode. The body has no idea when and/or if it will receive another meal. In turn, it stores whatever fat you have in your body and slows your metabolism. The metabolism is the process in which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy. As previously mentioned, your body uses this energy to maintain functionality and meet certain levels of performance.  I am not sure about you, but as a woman who is extremely eager about being the best me I can be, the last thing I want is to allow my body to function at a substandard level. Your body is you’re your mode of transportation throughout life. Without a healthy, well-functioning body, where will you go?

When people think of the body, they don’t think of the entire body. From head to toe, each inch of you needs nutrients and vitamins. It can be difficult to receive the recommended amounts, so it is important to explore other avenues and know your options. Always consult with your family doctor. As a growing woman you should visit a doctor at least once a year for a routine check-up. Your doctor will be able to advise you on what your body needs and how to attain those basic nutrients.

Don’t be afraid to take care of your body. It is one heck of a machine that requires maintenance. You are the operator. Food is intended to fuel our bodies and provide life. Don’t allow it to be your downfall. Remember, your body cannot support itself without a solid infrastructure. Consuming an unhealthy diet will have its effects not only on your body but eventually your life.  So, take the time to examine your diet. What are you eating? What is eating you?  Be conscious! Take a look in the mirror and ask yourself, “How do I look?” No matter the response, know that you can be as healthy and as beautiful as you allow yourself to be.

-Heidi Thomas

Until next time ladies, healthy eating, body consciousness, health and beauty!

Ugh, Gym Class!

Gym class. I mean really, do we have to do all of this physical activity, in the middle of the day, and then go back to class like nothing happened? Something happened! It is written all over my hair. I’m sweaty and I smell like yuck! I need to shower, but the locker room gives me the heebie jeebies. It’s just a bit much… gym class. Ugh!  Who likes gym class?

Let’s be honest, not everyone is an athlete. We do not all wake up craving fitness. For those us who do not, gym class is probably the best option. Yes, it is happens during the most inopportune time of your day, but the physical activity is just what the doctor ordered.  Gym class allows you to be physically active while having fun with your peers. You get to laugh and talk to your classmates as you exercise your muscles and burn a few extra calories. It is recommended that teenage girls engage in at least an hour of physical activity every day. Being active in gym class is a great way to ensure you receive the suggested amounts of exercise.

What is a girl’s biggest fear… a bad hair day? Don’t allow a minute detail to determine whether or not you will participate in Heidigym class.  Come prepared.  Bring a hair bush, comb, ponytail holder, gel, hair spray, bobby pins… whatever you think you will need.  A hairstyle should have very little impact on your decision to participate in gym class and nurture a healthy lifestyle. Find hairstyles that are suitable for exercise. There is the infamous ponytail, two French braids are a hot trend this year, or even a high bun. All three (3) hairstyles are sleek and trendy, but will also see you through a good round of cardio and leave you with absolutely no fuss.

If you are uncomfortable taking a shower in your locker room, I understand. I advise packing baby wipes, rubbing alcohol, and a face towel in your gym bag.  All three (3) help remove the sweat and smell from your body. Pack extra clothes. Yoga pants are extremely comfortable after a good workout. Also, a good workout will generate a more active metabolism leaving you feeling hungry. Don’t grab that slice of pepperoni pizza! While we all fall victim to cravings from time-to-time, you don’t want to jeopardize the hard work and calories burned.  So, pack a snack and refreshing beverage for post gym class. The snack will keep your metabolism active and burning calories, while the beverage will refresh your body and keep you hydrated.

So what if gym class isn’t for you? No big deal! There are plenty of physical activities that encourage an active, healthy lifestyle and don’t require your enrollment in a gym class. It might take some time and research to find something suitable for yourself, but the time spent finding your niche is an investment is of invaluable return.  The idea is to be encouraged and discover a physical activity most beneficial for your personality.  The more enjoyable the activity, the greater chance you have at staying committed and holding yourself accountable. Daily exercise increases brain function and generates a natural flow of endorphins throughout the body, both of which lead to a very healthy and a very happy you. So, take control of your healthy and your happy by finding a daily dose physical activity. If you can’t decide what your daily dose will be, register for a gym class and stay active.

Until next time ladies, have peace, self-love, health and beauty.

More Than A Bad Day

As you wake up in the morning the only action you are motivated to do is go back to sleep and try to ignore the world. Day after day you feel worse than the day before. You wake up and just go through the actions of life but not a single moment you enjoy. You almost feel as if the entire world is closing in on you and no one understands you. When you mention it to parents or any other adult they shrug it off as normal “teen years syndrome.”

In actuality hundreds of teens suffer from Teen Depression every year. The sad part is that many people do not take it seriously until it’s too late and they have already taken their own life. From bullying to family issues to peer pressure, these all can be causes that may lead to teen depression.

Check out this vid of identify different symptoms and causes If you or a friend may be suffering from depression do not ignore it.


Please contact Teen Health Hotline if you or a friend is suffering from depression —->HERE