Teen Resources

This information is from Teens Have Choices, a printed booklet of resources for teens that is part of our free Teen Toolkit. Prefer a printed copy? We’ll send you one for free! Or click Teens Resource Guide to print.

Resource Cover

Looking for Information

As a teen you are making important decisions about your health, relationships, sexuality, friends, family and future. Parents can be a great source of knowledge and support. Teachers, school counselors, school nurses, family doctors and religious leaders can also give you guidance, understanding and information. This book was created to provide you with information about a variety of issues as well as contact information. Below are some suggestions to consider.

When contacting someone for information:

  1. Write down your questions ahead of time. Try to be as clear as you can when describing your problem or question. No question is a dumb question. If you are thinking it, ask.
  2. When you call, keep a pencil and paper handy.
  3. If you’re put on hold, please wait. The agencies listed in this book want to help, but sometimes phones get busy.
  4. If you can’t wait, you may give your name and a phone number so that someone can call you back; or call back later when you have more time.
  5. To help you, your contacts may need information about you – things like your age and birth date and how you found out about the agency. It helps to have this information ready if you are asked.
  6. Ask any questions; all of your questions are important. For example, “How much will this cost?” “Is this confidential?”
  7. Ask the name of the person you are speaking to in case you want to call back later.
  8. If you make an appointment and still need help, talk to an adult you trust or call the Youth Crisis Hotline at 1-800-422-0009.

[/tab]

Important Numbers

AIDS Info 800-232-4636 or 800-CDC-INFO
Alateen (Alcoholics Anonymous for teens) 888-425-2666
Alcoholics Anonymous 301-733-1109
CASA, Inc. 301-739-4990
Child Support Enforcement Program 800-332-6347
Community Free Clinic 301-733-9234
Department of Social Services 240-420-2100
Hagerstown Area Pregnancy Center 301-739-8717
Hagerstown Community College 301-790-2800
Adult Education x313
Teen Parent Program x329
Hagerstown Police Department 301-790-3700
Maryland State Police 301-739-2101
Maryland Youth Crisis Hotline 800-422-0009
Meritus Medical Center
Childbirth Education 301-790-8421
General Information 301-790-8000
Physician Referral Service 800-920-3627 (DOCS)
National Runaway Switchboard 800-786-2929
National STD (STI) Hotline 800-227-8922
Planned Parenthood of Maryland, Frederick Health Ctr 301-662-7171
Rape Crisis Hotline 301-739-8975
Reporting Abuse & Neglect 240-420-2222
Safe Haven 800-332-6347
Suicide Hotline 800-784-2433
The Trevor Project Hotline (for LGBTQ youth) 800-850-8078
Tri-State Community Health Center 301-678-7256
Washington County Family Center 301-790-4002
Washington County Health Department
Alcohol/Drug Abuse 240-313-3314
Addictions/Mental Health Services 240-313-3331
Family Planning 240-313-3296
General Information 240-313-3200
Maryland Children’s Health Insurance 240-313-3330
Smoking Cessation Program 240-313-3360
Women, Infants and Children (WIC) 240-313-3335
Washington County One-Stop Job Center 301-393-8200
Washington County Teen Pregnancy
Prevention Coalition
301-671-3000
Washington County Sheriff’s Office 240-313-2100
Youth Crisis Hotline 800-422-0009

Making Healthy Choices

»Talking to Your Parents »Thinking It Through
»Saying “No” »Preventing Pregnancy
»Think You’re Pregnant? »Think She’s Pregnant?
»A Healthy Pregnancy »Safe Haven
»Being a Good Parent »HIV
»Other STIs »Sexual Identity
»Smoking Cessation »Eating Disorders
»Alcohol and Other Drugs

Talking To Your Parents

Be Patient:

Remember, your parents are still learning too. They may not have all of the answers but they can help you find out.

Try to Relax:

Don’t worry if you feel nervous or silly – that’s normal – but it gets better with practice.

Write It Down:

Especially when bringing up a very sensitive subject, it may help you to write down your thoughts and questions in a note to your parents.

Listen to Your Parents:

Practice being a good listener and let your parents know you care about their opinions.

Make a Date:

Pick a time and place to talk where you won’t be interrupted. Insist on privacy.

Start the Conversation:

Most parents want to talk about sexuality with their kids, but some don’t know how to get started. Use TV or movies as a way to bring up the subject. When they do talk to you, let them know you appreciate their efforts. If you absolutely cannot talk to your parents, talk to another trusted adult.

Top of page

Thinking It Through

You may feel that you care very much about someone and that you are ready to have sex. Sexual feelings are normal. But, are you ready to accept what may come after?

Some Things You Might Want to Think About Are:

  • What are my values?
  • Why am I doing this? Do I feel pressured to have sex?
  • Have my partner and I talked about what we are doing?
  • Am I willing to risk pregnancy, STIs, AIDS, infertility?

Decisions you make now about sex may be the most important decisions you will ever make. So, think before you act! NOT EVERYONE IS “DOING IT.” There are many levels of affection before sexual intercourse. Set your limits and stick to them.

What to Do:

If you are feeling pressured to have sex, talk to your partner about your feelings and what seems right for you. If your partner really cares about you, he or she will respect your feelings. Talk to your parents or a trusted adult for support.

Who to Call:

Community Free Clinic 301-733-9234
Planned Parenthood of Maryland,
Frederick Health Ctr
1-301-662-7171
Tri-State Community Health Center
(ask for the No Home Contact Nurse)
301-678-7256
Washington County Health Department 240-313-3296

Top of page

Saying “NO”

“NO” isn’t always easy to say. Maybe a friend asks you to lie, take drugs, drink, have sex, steal, fight, vandalize. Saying “no” to friends is hard, especially when you don’t want to lose their friendship. It is important to remember that you are in control of your choices. You don’t have to explain your reasons.

The best way to say “no” is to do so firmly. Here are some other ways to say “no” that you can keep in mind:

  • If you were my friend, you wouldn’t ask me!
  • No thanks, it would ruin my image!
  • Don’t mess with me; I won’t mess with you!
  • If you knew me, you wouldn’t ask me!
  • No thanks, it’s not my style!
  • That’s your thing – not mine!
  • I have better things to do!
  • I’d hate to lose your friendship, but that’s not me!

“Lines” and “Comebacks” when being pressured to have sex:

“Everyone is doing it”

“That’s great. Then you won’t have any problem finding someone else.”

“We had sex before, so what’s the problem now?”

“I have a right to change my mind. I’ve decided to wait until I’m older.”

“If you love me, you’ll have sex with me.”

“If you love me, you’ll respect my feelings and not push me into doing something I’m not ready for.”

“If you get pregnant, I’ll marry you.”

“I don’t want to risk getting pregnant, and I’m not ready to get married.”

“But I have to have it!”

“No you don’t. If I can wait, you can wait.”

Top of page

Preventing Pregnancy

The only 100% sure way to prevent pregnancy is not to have sex. One risk of having sex is an unplanned pregnancy. Becoming pregnant means facing hard decisions during a time filled with emotional stress. Chances are it will affect the rest of your life.

Did You Know That:

  • Since ovulation occurs before menstruation, a pregnancy can occur before a girl has her first period.
  • Pregnancy can occur anytime, including the first time, and at any age once ovulation begins.
  • Withdrawal (“pulling out”) does not protect against pregnancy.

What to Do:

  • Postpone sexual activity until YOU are ready.
  • Seek confidential contraceptive services

Who to Call:

Community Free Clinic 301-733-9234
Planned Parenthood of Maryland,
Frederick Health Ctr
1-301-662-7171
Tri-State Community Health Center
(ask for the No Home Contact Nurse)
301-678-7256
Washington County Health Department 240-313-3296

Top of page

Think You’re Pregnant?

Anytime you have intercourse, pregnancy is a possibility. The most common sign of pregnancy is being late for a period.

Some Other Signs May Be:

  • Frequent need to urinate
  • Nausea (morning or evening sickness)
  • Tender/enlarged breasts
  • Feeling more tired than usual
  • Light-flow period

What to Do:

If you think you might be pregnant find out for sure. Have a pregnancy test by a qualified medical professional immediately. For your own health and the health of the baby, proper care during the first three months of pregnancy is very important. The earlier you know the earlier you can begin taking care of yourself and making plans.

Many clinics and agencies provide free pregnancy testing. If the test is positive, you are pregnant and you should get medical attention right away. Smoking, drinking, taking drugs or unprescribed medication may permanently damage your baby.

This can be a very confusing time. You will immediately face very difficult decisions. Should you: Have the baby? Keep the baby? Choose adoption for the baby? Your family may be upset at first, but they usually end up being a strong source of support. You may decide to ask the baby’s father to be involved.

If you can’t talk to your family right away, talk to another adult – someone who can talk to your family with you. You should talk to someone you trust.

If you are not pregnant, decide right away how you are going to prevent a pregnancy in the future. The only sure way is not to have sex. But if you decide to remain sexually active, you can get good advice from a doctor or family planning clinic.

Who to Call:

Counseling about options, decision-making, feelings and how to deal with pregnancy is available.

Community Free Clinic 301-733-9234
Planned Parenthood of Maryland,
Frederick Health Ctr
1-301-662-7171
Tri-State Community Health Center
(ask for the No Home Contact Nurse)
301-678-7256
Washington County Health Department 240-313-3296

Top of page

Think She’s Pregnant?

What if your partner thinks she may be pregnant? What do you do now? A mature and caring partner accepts responsibility for his actions. He also has legal and financial responsibilities for the child’s first 18 years.

What to Do:

First, encourage your partner to get a pregnancy test as soon as possible from a qualified medical professional. Some clinics and agencies provide this service free of charge. Go with her, if she wishes.

If she is pregnant, the two of you have some important decisions to make. Don’t put them off. Talk with your family. Even if they are upset, they can usually provide the most support. Or seek out an adult who you can trust who will talk with you and keep your confidence.

If the decision is to have the baby, talk to your partner and her family about how you can be involved and helpful. Being a father begins before the baby is born. Your help is needed throughout the pregnancy and birth. As the father you have legal rights to be involved in decisions about adoption.

If she is not pregnant, decide right away how you are going to prevent a pregnancy in the future. The only sure way is not to have sex. But if you decide to remain sexually active, you can get good advice from a doctor or family planning clinic.

Who to Call:

Counseling about options, decision-making, feelings, and how to deal with pregnancy is available.

Community Free Clinic 301-733-9234
Planned Parenthood of Maryland,
Frederick Health Ctr
1-301-662-7171
Tri-State Community Health Center
(ask for the No Home Contact Nurse)
301-678-7256
Washington County Health Department 240-313-3296

Top of page

A Healthy Pregnancy

If you are pregnant, it’s important to take special care of yourself early.

What to Do:

  • See a doctor as soon as you know you’re pregnant and set up regular visits. Medical care during the first three months of pregnancy is critical for your health and the health of the baby.
  • Take only medication ordered by your doctor.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet. If you’re not sure what to eat, ask your doctor.
  • Exercise every day. Ask your doctor about how much and what kind.
  • Get 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night.
  • Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day.
  • Report all illnesses to your doctor, even if they don’t seem important.
  • Report any vaginal bleeding, discharge, stomach pain or contractions to your doctor immediately.

What NOT to Do:

  • Don’t listen to street talk. Get information from your doctor or a health professional.
  • Don’t take any drugs. Your baby could die, be born addicted, or suffer from birth defects.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Don’t drink any alcoholic beverages. Even the smallest amount can be harmful to your baby.
  • Don’t take medications, including over-the-counter, without checking with your doctor first.
  • Don’t have an X-ray unless the doctor, dentist or X-ray technician knows that you are pregnant.
  • Don’t eat junk foods.

Learning what to expect during pregnancy and child birth will make it easier for you. Classes are available to teach you about what will happen to the mother’s body during pregnancy and the birth process.

Who to Call:

Childbirth Education 301-790-8421
Hagerstown Area Pregnancy Center 301-739-8717
Mary’s Center, Inc. 301-739-1234
Washington County Department of Social Services 240-420-2100
Washington County Health Department
Healthy Start 240-313-3229
Maryland Children’s Health Insurance 240-313-3330
Stop Smoking For Life 240-313-3360
Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) 240-313-3335

Top of page

Safe Haven

You may surrender your newborn to any adult working at any police station (sheriff, state, or local) or at the Washington County Hospital 24 hours a day.

  • The newborn must not be older than three days
  • The individual surrendering the child does not have to be the parent and they are free from criminal prosecution
  • Drop off is anonymous
  • No questions are asked about the identification of the parent
  • The baby will be given proper medical care and then will be in the custody of Washington County Department of Social Services
  • The child will then be placed for adoption through the foster care system

Who to Call:

Local Hotline (CASA) 301-739-8975
Safe Haven 800-332-6347

<

Top of page

Being A Good Parent

Being a good parent takes special skills and understanding.

Babies can’t talk so they cry. They cry when they are sleepy, hungry, wet, or when they want attention. Don’t ignore their cries. Picking up your baby when the baby cries will not spoil the baby. A baby needs your touch and attention.

What to Do:

  • Be sure your baby gets regular medical attention and immunizations (shots).
  • Learn how to diaper and feed your baby and how to hold it properly.
  • Find out what to expect: when will your baby sit up, walk, talk.
  • Hold, talk, and play with your baby often – from the day your baby is born.

There are parenting classes that can help you to be a good parent. They can also help you deal with the changes that having a baby has made in your life. There are also places you can call for advice about day-to-day kinds of questions and problems that come up in caring for your baby.

Who to Call:

Parent Child Center 301-791-2224
Washington County Family Center 301-790-4002
Washington County Health Department
Healthy Start 240-313-3229
Maryland Children’s Health Insurance 240-313-3330
Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) 240-313-3335

Top of page

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

HIV is the virus that causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

Facts About HIV/AIDS:

  • AIDS is a deadly disease with no known cure.
  • AIDS virus is found in semen, blood, vaginal secretions, and breast milk.
  • It passes directly from an infected person to somebody else through an exchange or sharing of these body fluids.
  • This almost always happens either during sexual intercourse (vaginal, oral, or anal) or through sharing needles and syringes used for IV drugs. Caution should be taken for all needles used. You should not use anyone else’s needles, including needles used for tattoos, ear piercing, and steroid injections.
  • You don’t get it from normal everyday contact with people.
  • AIDS is now spreading fastest within the teen population, especially among females.

Protecting Yourself from HIV:

  • Don’t have sex. Don’t share needles to inject anything.
  • Don’t do drugs and don’t use alcohol.
  • Using latex condoms for all types of sex can reduce the risk of getting HIV/AIDS.
  • Admit to yourself it could happen to you and then you can protect yourself.

REMEMBER, you can’t tell by looking if someone has HIV.

Who to Call:

To arrange for a free confidential test or just ask questions about AIDS:

Community Free Clinic 301-733-9234
National STD Hotline 1-800-227-8922
Tri-State Community Health Center
(ask for the No Home Contact Nurse)
301-678-7256
Washington County Health Department 240-313-3296

Top of page

Other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

Facts About STIs:

  • Most common STIs: Gonorrhea, Syphilis, Chlamydia, Herpes, and Genital Warts (HPV).
  • STIs are diseases that are passed from one person to another through sexual intercourse or other intimate body contact.
  • STIs are dangerous if left untreated.
  • Although some STIs you may have for life, all STIs can be medically treated.

STIs Can Cause:

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can damage a woman’s fallopian tubes and result in pelvic pain and sterility.
  • Tubal pregnancies (where the fetus grows in the fallopian tube instead of the womb), sometimes fatal to the mother and always fatal to the fetus.
  • Cancer of the cervix in women.
  • Sterility – the inability to have children (in both men and women).
  • Damage to major organs, such as the heart, kidney and brain. If STIs go untreated, they may cause death. This is especially true with HIV infection.
  • If you have an STI, the infection will continue to damage your body until it is treated. Even if the symptoms go away, as they often do, the infection is still in the body and can cause permanent damage.

See a Doctor If You Have Any of These STI Symptoms:

  • Discharge from vagina, penis, or rectum.
  • Pain or burning during urination or intercourse.
  • Pain in the abdomen (women), testicles (men), or buttocks and legs (both).
  • Blisters, open sores, warts, rash, or swelling in the genital or anal areas or mouth.
  • Persistent flu-like symptoms, including fever, headache, aching muscles, or swollen glands, which may precede STI symptoms.

SOME PEOPLE DO NOT HAVE ANY SYMPTOMS. REMEMBER, EVERY TIME YOU HAVE UNPROTECTED SEX, YOU ARE AT RISK OF CONTRACTING A SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTION.

You will be given a medical exam and lab test to determine if you have an STI.

Who to Call:

Community Free Clinic 301-733-9234
National STD Hotline 1-800-227-8922
Tri-State Community Health Center
(ask for the No Home Contact Nurse)
301-678-7256
Washington County Health Department 240-313-3296

Top of page

Sexual Identity

Sexual identify can include issues of what’s masculine or feminine, sexual orientation (being gay or lesbian), and sex roles (sex specific behaviors).

As you mature, you may have concerns about your sexual development. You will develop at your own rate into the person you are to be. It is normal to be curious about others and to want reassurance as you grow and change.

Who to Call:

Gay/Lesbian Youth Hotline 1-800-850-8078
Washington County Health Department 240-313-3296

Top of page

Smoking Cessation

Smoking is physically addicting and habit forming.

Effects on the Body:

  • Smoking dumps tar and other toxic chemicals into your lungs where they constrict and kill lung tissue.
  • It interferes with the flow of blood and your fingers, toes, and skin may feel cold.
  • Smoking can affect your sense of smell and taste.
  • It can make your heart work harder and cause high blood pressure.

Long Term Complications:

  • Chronic Bronchitis
  • Emphysema
  • Lung infections
  • Lung cancer
  • Cancer of the: larynx, mouth, throat, esophagus, kidney, pancreas , and bladder
  • Wrinkles and early signs of aging
  • Yellow teeth and fingers

Quitting:

  • Get outside help: group programs and counseling.
  • Do it yourself!
    • Have a positive attitude and be committed.
    • Decide to quit cold turkey or do it at your own pace.
    • Find support from friends and family.

Who to Call:

American Cancer Society 301-733-8272
Washington County Health Department, Stop Smoking For Life 240-313-3360

Top of page

Eating Disorders

Anorexia:

Anorexia is an eating disorder that can lead to malnutrition, starvation, and death.

Warning Signs:

Constant concern about your weight:

  • Feeling you must lose weight even though people say you look too thin.
  • Combining too much exercise with extreme dieting.

In advanced stages of Anorexia:

  • There is an obsession with thoughts of food and weight.
  • Menstrual periods usually stop.
  • You feel nervous, anxious, and irritable.
  • You may feel depressed.

Bulimia:

Bulimia, a related eating disorder, is also very damaging to your health.

Many bulimics have anorexia first, but their overwhelming urge to eat makes them go on food “binges,” eating as much as three large pizzas at one sitting. Then they make themselves vomit and often take laxatives, water pills, and diet pills. They may binge several times a week or even several times a day.

Binge eating is done in secret and is always serious. Loss of vitamins and minerals through vomiting, laxatives, and water pills can damage your kidneys, throat, or stomach, and lead to heart attacks and death.

What to Do:

If you or a friend is suffering from anorexia or bulimia, you need to get help immediately. You can’t work this out alone.

Who to Call:

Behavioral Health Services 301-766-7600
Brook Lane Health Services 301-733-0330
Mental Health Center 301-791-3045
Rader Institute 1-800-841-1515
Washington County Health Department, Nutrition and Wellness 240-313-3300

Top of page

Alcohol and Other Drugs

Using alcohol and other drugs can make you feel good. But, the effects of alcohol and other drugs can be unpredictable and dangerous. Alcohol and other drugs change how you feel about things and how you act in ways you can’t control.

You may be thinking about trying alcohol or other drugs to see what it feels like, to please your friends, or to try to escape some problems. There are some things that you need to know:

  • It’s against the law to consume or possess alcoholic beverages under the age of 21. It is also illegal for minors to have alcohol in their possession at any time.
  • It’s against the law to possess or sell (deal) marijuana or other drugs.

If you are already using alcohol or other drugs, how would you answer these questions?

  • Do you drink or use other drugs . . .
    • to be accepted by your friends?
    • when you are alone?
    • to improve your social life?
    • when you are mad at people?
    • before you go to school?
    • when you get upset?
  • Are your grades starting to slip?
  • Do you often forget things because of your drinking and using?
  • Do you ever try to stop “using” and fail?
  • Do you lie about drinking or using?
  • Do you get drunk or high often, even when you don’t mean to?

If You Answered “YES” to Even One of These Questions, It Means:

Alcohol or other drugs are impacting your life, and

It’s time to stop and call for help. Don’t be afraid to say you want to stop, because you can stop.

Continued Use Can Lead to:

  • Legal, family, and other problems
  • Loss of friendships
  • Dependency
  • Overdose
  • Physical illness and disease
  • Death

What to Do:

If you or someone in your family is having a problem with alcohol or other drugs, call your contacts.

Who to Call:

Alcohol Abuse and Crisis Intervention 1-800-234-0246
Al-Anon/Alateen (support group for family members of alcoholics)
Hagerstown and Frederick 301-293-8288
(All other areas) 1-800-344-2666
Alcoholics Anonymous 301-733-1109
Narcotics Anonymous (Regional meeting information) 1-800-777-1515
State-Wide Drug Tips Hotline 1-800-492-8477
Washington County Health Department, Division of Addictions and Mental Health Services, Adolescent and Young Adult Program 240-313-3314
Youth Crisis Hotline 1-800-422-0009

Top of page

Dealing with a Crisis

»Emotional, Physical and Sexual Abuse
»Rape or Sexual Assault
»Dating Violence
»Depression and Suicide
»Running Away

Emotional Abuse:

Does someone call you bad or obscene names, always tell you that you’re stupid or keep putting you down in other ways? This emotional abuse hurts you, sometimes as much as physical abuse. You have the right not to be treated this way, even if that person is an adult.

Physical Abuse:

If anyone hits you in a way that leaves bruises or causes injury, you may be a victim of physical abuse. No one has the right to physically abuse you.

Sexual Abuse:

If someone touches you in a way that makes you unhappy, uncomfortable or confused, you may be a victim of sexual abuse.

Incest is sexual abuse with family members. It may not always include sexual intercourse. An abuser may be a member of your family. The person will usually say, “Unless you keep our secret, something bad will happen.” Fear, and sometimes force, is used to get you to agree. Incest is against the law.

It may be hard to know what to do if any of these things are happening to you. This may be a confusing time. You may be afraid or ashamed. You may not want the person to get into trouble. But, you are very important! Help is available for you and the abuser.

REMEMBER: YOU ARE NOT GUILTY! YOU HAVE DONE NOTHING WRONG!

What to Do:

  • Try to avoid situations where the abuse usually happens.
  • TELL SOMEONE even if you think the abuse has stopped.

If you talk to a teacher, school counselor, nurse, doctor or youth leader, they must report the abuse to authorities who will investigate, so they can take steps to protect you. However, if you need help deciding what to do, talk to a trusted adult or call your contacts. You don’t have to give them your name to get advice.

Who to Call:

If you’re a victim of emotional, physical or sexual abuse:

CASA 301-739-4990
TTY 301-739-1012
24-hour Hotline 301-739-8975
Hagerstown Police Department 301-790-3700
Maryland State Police Non-emergency,Hagerstown Barrack 301-739-2101
Washington County Dept. of Social Services,
Child Protective Services
240-420-2222
(Day and Evening)
Meritus Medical Center Emergency Department 301-790-8300
Washington County Sheriff’s Department 301-791-3020
Youth Crisis Hotline 1-800-422-0009

Top of page

Rape or Sexual Assault

Sexual assault, including rape, is forced sexual intercourse, and other forced sex acts. Both men and women can be forced to have sex with persons of the same or opposite sex. Some types of sexual assault are first degree felony crimes.

Things You Should Know:

  • YOU ARE A VICTIM, NOT A GUILTY PARTY.
  • Rape is a crime of violence and hate.
  • In nearly all sexual assault cases, the victim and the other offender know each other.
  • Rape can occur on a date.
  • Any type of forced sexual intercourse is rape.

Ways to Protect Yourself Against Rape:

  • Always make sure a parent or someone you trust knows where you are, how to reach you, and when to expect you.
  • Be careful who you trust – check out dates and babysitting jobs carefully.
  • Share in deciding what to do on your date.
  • REMEMBER: Drugs and alcohol make you an easy target. Don’t accept drinks, even sodas, from anyone.
  • Trust your instincts. When something doesn’t “feel” right, get out of the situation. It’s both your right and your responsibility to say NO.
  • Try to avoid dark, deserted areas; try to be with a friend, be alert, walk with authority, and carry a loud whistle.

If You Are Raped:

  • Go to a hospital emergency room or call the police immediately.
  • Do not bathe, wash, douche (wash inside yourself) or change clothes before going to the hospital.
  • Call your contacts! They will send someone to meet you at the hospital emergency room. This person will give you information about your rights.

After being raped, you may have very confused feelings, so the sooner you begin talking to someone the better.

Who to Call:

If you are raped or assaulted and need information:

CASA 301-739-4990
TTY 301-739-1012
24-hour Hotline 301-739-8975
Hagerstown Police Department 301-790-3700
Maryland State Police Non-emergency,Hagerstown Barrack 301-739-2101
Washington County Dept. of Social Services,
Child Protective Services
240-420-2222
(Day and Evening)
Meritus Medical Center Emergency Department 301-790-8300
Washington County Sheriff’s Department 301-791-3020
Youth Crisis Hotline 1-800-422-0009

Dating Violence

Dating violence is physical, verbal, sexual, or emotional abuse between partners in a casual or serious dating relationship.

Warning Signs May Include:

  • Controlling your life – friends, activities, clothing, etc.
  • Excessive jealousy or possessiveness
  • Frequent putdowns
  • Isolating you from your friends and/or family
  • Physical displays of anger – punching walls, damaging possessions, rough “playing around”
  • Fear of what your partner might do or say if you don’t agree/obey
  • The feeling that you can’t be yourself around this person

No one deserves to be abused; no one has the right to treat another person this way. Abuse and control in a relationship will get more severe and dangerous if steps are not taken to end it.

What to Do:

If you are in a violent dating relationship, you can get help from parents, friends, teachers, the police, or your local domestic violence shelter.

Who to Call:

CASA 301-739-4990
TTY 301-739-1012
24-hour Hotline 301-739-8975
Hagerstown Police Department 301-790-3700
Maryland State Police Non-emergency,Hagerstown Barrack 301-739-2101
Washington County Dept. of Social Services,
Child Protective Services
240-420-2222
(Day and Evening)
Washington County Sheriff’s Department 301-791-3020
Youth Crisis Hotline 1-800-422-0009

Top of page

Depression and Suicide

Being healthy means feeling good most of the time about yourself, other people and what’s going on in your life. It’s normal to sometimes feel sad, alone, depressed, confused or angry.

Sometimes things that happen in your life give you strong or uncomfortable feelings. Often this is a short term reaction to an event. It’s okay to feel sad, alone, depressed, confused or angry. But, if you begin to have these feelings most of the time and don’t know why, and if they begin to affect your daily activities, you may be experiencing depression.

Warning Signs May Include:

  • Feeling like you’re worthless, and nobody cares about you.
  • Avoiding friends.
  • Lack of interest in school, sports, and other things you enjoy doing.
  • Losing your temper easily and picking fights.
  • Strong feelings of uneasiness or fear.
  • Excessive sleeping or trouble sleeping.

What to Do:

If you are experiencing warning signs of depression, or if you need help with your feelings, help is available.

Suicide

Sometimes the pain you feel may seem unbearable and you think it will never end. If you feel that suicide is the only way out, talk to someone. Ask for help. You can be helped and you deserve to be.

If a close friend talks to you about ending their life, take it seriously. Don’t keep it a secret! Get help. Tell a trusted adult.

MYTHS ABOUT SUICIDE:

MYTH: “Mentioning suicide may give a person the idea.”

FACT: Don’t be afraid to bring up the topic of suicide. You cannot give someone the idea to kill themselves. Let them know you have an idea that something is wrong and that you’re concerned.

MYTH: “All suicidal persons are mentally ill.”

FACT: Although the suicidal person is extremely unhappy and upset, he or she is not necessarily mentally ill.

Some Warning Signs:

  • Feelings of isolation and worthlessness.
  • Verbal threats about suicide.
  • Sudden changes in behavior.
  • Discussion of a suicide plan.
  • Impulsive, restless behavior.
  • Inability to see that things can get better.

Who to Call:

Behavioral Health Services 301-766-7600
Brook Lane Health Services 301-733-0330
Catholic Charities 301-733-5858
The Mental Health Center 301-791-3045
Suicide Hotline 1-800-784-2433
SPEAK (Suicide Prevention Education Awareness for Kids) 1-410-377-7711
Washington County Health Department, Addictions & Mental Health Services 240-313-3310
Meritus Medical Center, Emergency Psychiatric Services 301-766-7600
Washington County Mental Health Authority 301-739-2490
Youth Crisis Hotline 1-800-422-0009

Top of page

Running Away

Sometimes things may get very bad at home and you feel trapped with nowhere to turn. You may be abused, neglected or perhaps you just can’t get along with your parents. Everything you do seems wrong. Maybe you’re having problems at school. You want to do something – anything – to escape or change the way things are going.

Sometimes running away from home seems to be the only answer. But, where will you sleep? Get money to buy food? How will you survive?

Running away is a last resort. Even the most streetwise people can get ripped off and seriously hurt while trying to make it on their own. It could be more dangerous than what you ran from.

What to Do:

Before you run away, try to find another way to solve your problem. If you’ve already left home, don’t rely on strangers you meet on the street.

Who to Call:

National Runaway Switchboard 1-800-786-2929
Youth Crisis Hotline 1-800-422-0009

Top of page


What’s In Your Future?

»Education
»Working

Education

A college or associates degree or technical training is a tremendous advantage in getting the kind of job you can turn into a career.

What to Do:

Talk to your school counselor about careers.

  • Go to the library and read about different kinds of careers.
  • Ask people you know about their jobs.
  • Find out what education or training you’ll need for the careers that interest you.
  • Ask your school counselor about requirements, scholarships, and financial aid.
  • Try to get work or volunteer experience in jobs/careers you think you’d like.
  • Search the internet for careers and scholarships.

Who to Call:

The following agencies can help you further your education:

Hagerstown Community College 301-790-2800
Kaplan College – Hagerstown Campus 301-739-2670
University System of Maryland at Hagerstown 240-527-2060
Washington County Free Library 301-739-3250

Top of page

Working

There are some things you can do to earn money and get experience before you are old enough to get a regular job. You may meet adults who may help you find employment later. You can:

  • Baby-sit
  • Wash cars
  • Volunteer to do things at church, at school, or in your community
  • Mow lawns
  • Pet sit
  • Deliver newspapers

Some Questions to Ask Yourself:

  • How will I get to and from my job?
  • How many hours and days a week can I work?
  • Am I willing to give up some of my spare time?
  • Do I have any special skills — typing, auto repair, photography, etc?

What to Do:

  • Look for job openings in the newspaper Want Ad section, ask your counselor, parents, and friends, or contact the nearest Job Service Office.
  • Search the Internet.

Who to Call:

Washington County One Stop Job Center 301-393-8200
Western Maryland Consortium 301-791-3164

Top of page

ABOUT

This Teens Have Choices book is produced by Teens Have Choices: the Washington County Teen Pregnancy Prevention Coalition. It was patterned after a similar publication developed by The Washington County Health Department and The Center for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention, a program of Family Health Council, Inc. of Pittsburgh.

The services and agencies listed in this directory are a guide; listings do not constitute endorsement by the Washington County Teen Pregnancy Prevention Coalition. This guide does not list all services, but does identify resources that may have free or low cost services available to teenagers.

Organizations and agencies listed in this directory do not discriminate in admissions, access, treatment, or activities on the basis of race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, or handicapping condition.

[/tabs]