Episode 116: "What if I need help, but I can't trust any adults in my life?"Support the show
On today’s episode, we’re answering a question from local teens about not being able to trust adults.
This is Jessica Skultety, Outreach and Prevention Manager at Safe+Sound Somerset. We are Somerset County, New Jersey's lead domestic and sexual violence response organization, providing services at no charge to survivors for over 40 years.
Today's question from local teens is: “Dear Ava, What if I need help, but I can’t trust any adults in my life?”
We get this question pretty often from teens around Somerset County, so we wanted to talk about some options today. When you need help, it can sometimes be hard to know what to do. There are always options though, even if it might seem like there are.
Sometimes it can be really hard to trust other people like adults, especially if they’ve let you down in the past or they aren’t close to you. Some teens tell us they are worried that an adult will snitch or tell authorities about what’s going on. For certain things, this is true. By New Jersey law, all adults have to report child or elder abuse or neglect. Adults also reach out when anyone is threatening to hurt themselves or others. There’s a simple reason for this: to protect the safety of the people involved.
Whether something is reportable or not, adults can be a resource for you. If you tell one adult and they don’t listen to you or believe you, go to another one. Here are some ideas, and if you’re in trouble and you’re looking for help, we definitely encourage you to reach out to someone. You don’t need to go through this alone. If you’re in danger or there’s an emergency, call 911. If you have a close friend or a trusted adult, you can even call 911 with them, if you’d like.
Some of the trusted adults that people usually think of are: parents or guardians, a teacher, counselor, or administrator at school.
Here are some other options of adults that you might feel safe talking to. How about a coach or choir, theater, or dance teacher? Some teens reach out to other family like grandparents, aunts or uncles, or close family friends. Another trusted adult that people might not think of immediately is a parent of one of your close friends. All of these people can listen to you, give you advice, and/or provide you with support or resources. Also, you could ask your friends which adults they feel comfortable talking to!
Another option for you to reach out to, is a helpline. For example, if you or a friend are feeling unsafe in a relationship, we can support you on the Safe+Sound Somerset helpline at 866-685-1122. We can also support someone who has experienced sexual violence.
Our helpline is call or text, local, and it can be anonymous. Everything you say is confidential except the examples we talked about earlier: if there are reports or suspicions of child or elder abuse or neglect, or someone is thinking about hurting themselves or others. Another local NJ call or text helpline for teens and young adults is the 2nd Floor Youth Helpline at 888-222-2228. Trained counselors at this service talk to young people with concerns about anything in their lives.
Remember, when you are going through a tough situation, you aren’t alone. There is someone out there who can listen to and support you.
To speak with an expert about relationship or sexual violence, call or text the Safe+Sound Somerset 24/7 confidential helpline at 866-685-1122 for supportive listening, information, and safety planning.
Want to “Ask Ava” a question? Visit our website at www.safe-sound.org/ask-ava. Thank you for listening today. Join us next time here on Ask Ava.