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Beneath the Surface: A Teen's Guide to Reaching Out When You or Your Friend Is in Crisis

Beneath the Surface: A Teen's Guide to Reaching Out When You or Your Friend Is in Crisis


Available for Pre-Order. This item will be available on September 3, 2019


While growing up has never been easy, today’s teens face a landscape that might be unrecognizable to their parents. In addition to cliques and peer pressure they live in a fast-changing social media world — Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook — that exposes and makes vulnerable as much as it shares and connects. Factor in high school and mass shootings, terrorism, daily reports about climate change, and the prospect of life-changing college loan debt and it’s no wonder that rates of teen depression, anxiety, and, tragically, suicide are soaring. Kristi Hugstad writes in a way that talks with, rather than down to, teens. The issues covered, including depression, eating disorders, PTSD, anxiety, and substance abuse, are accompanied by the stories of real teens who have experienced and come through these challenges. Testimonials from teens who have been depressed, attempted suicide, and survived highlight ways that kids can recognize danger signs in their own lives, help a friend in trouble, and find nonjudgmental, empathic help. While Hugstad is an adult and a mental health professional, she powerfully connects with kids by sharing the story of her husband, Bill, whose depression and substance abuse ultimately led to suicide. A fellow survivor of grief and trauma, Hugstad is able to show the hopeless that there is hope, the lonely that they aren’t alone, and that life can be much, much easier than seems possible in moments of crisis.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781608686353
Publisher: New World Library
Publication date: 09/03/2019
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Kristi Hugstad, a certified grief recovery specialist and a grief and loss facilitator for addicts in recovery at South Coast Behavioral Health. She frequently speaks at high schools and is the host of The Grief Girl podcast and The Grief Girl talk radio show. Her book, What I Wish I’d Known, addresses the death by suicide of her husband. She lives in Orange County, California.
Nancy Guerra, EdD, is a professor of psychological science and the dean of the School of Social Ecology at the University of California, Irvine.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Gavin’s Story

Personal story of Gavin’s severe depression, suicidal thoughts and eventual recovery.

Chapter 1: Listen Up

Acknowledgement of teen pressures and issues, that that it’s OK not to feel OK, and

assurance that there is help. Hugstad also discusses the fact that the teenage brain is not yet

fully developed, which may cause teens to engage in risky or impulsive behavior.

Chapter 2: You are not Alone / Take the Quiz

Ten questions for readers to answer about their own lives and behavior that may indicate

that they’re depressed and may need help.

Chapter 3: What is Depression? (Jackie’s Story)

Personal story of Jackie’s struggle with gender identity and subsequent depression and eating

disorder. Extensive discussion on depression as underlying cause for many destructive teen

behaviors, and the importance of getting help.

Chapter 4: Eating Disorders

Underlying issues that may lead to eating disorders, facts and statistics and how to get help.

Chapter 5: Bullying (Caitlin’s Story)

Personal story of Caitlin’s sister’s suicide resulting from bullying at school. Discussion of

bullying and cyberbullying, how to recognize symptoms and warning signs and how to help.

Chapter 6: Self-Harm (Kaley’s Story)

Personal story of Kaley’s sexual abuse and resulting PTSD and self harm. Discussion of risks,

signs and symptoms of self-harm.

Chapter 7: PTSD

Discussion of post traumatic stress disorder causes, symptoms and the importance of getting


Chapter 8: Pressures on Teens

Discussion of peer pressure, academic pressure and potential negative impact on teens’ selfesteem

and mental health. Hugstad provides coping strategies teens can implement themselves,

as well as suggesting professional help when appropriate.

Chapter 9: Anxiety (Asher’s Story)

Personal story of a dyslexic teen’s anxiety and depression and positive transformation after

therapy and medication. Discussion of anxiety symptoms and risk factors, panic attacks and

importance of treatment.

Chapter 10: Substance Abuse

Physical, social and behavioral warning signs of alcohol and drug use and potentially

devastating physical, emotional and social effects.

Chapter 11: Teen Suicide (Ethan’s Story)

Personal story of Ethan’s lonely childhood, video game addiction, depression and suicidal

thoughts and his ultimate recovery after his parents’ intervention. Further discussion of risk

factors and warning signs of suicide, and truth about “myths” surrounding suicide.

Chapter 12: My Story

Hugstad’s story of her husband Bill’s life as a teenager and young adult, his depression,

substance abuse and ultimate suicide.

Chapter 13: There is Hope

Strategies for overcoming obstacles, focusing on goals rather than obstacles and staying

motivated. Cultivating hope – and getting help from a support system and treatment team.

Chapter 14: How Can I Help a Friend?

An invitation to teens to support their peers in small, but meaningful ways, with suggestions

as to what to say and what not to say, and how to be a good listener.

RESOURCES: Where to Go for Help

A guide to the many hotlines and websites teens can contact to seek help for self-harm,

bullying, substance abuse, depression, suicide prevention and more.


Questions related to the content of each chapter designed to generate deeper conversation.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Praise for Kristi Hugstad and her previous books:

“I wanted to reach out to thank for everything you do to help our teens. Coming to speak to our students at San Clemente High School about it being ok not to be ok. That there is SO much hope and help. Powerful message for those feeling scared of what’s in their head. You are making a difference! Thank you for all you do!”
— Angie Tisdale, San Clemente High School Health

“Kristi Hugstad’s presentation to the health students at Dana Hills High School was very moving and informative. She brought her firsthand expertise and personal insight when living with a person who is experiencing the ill effects of substance-related disorders, specifically steroid use. Her story demonstrates the importance of recognizing the signs of mental illness; including paranoia, depression and suicide. Kristi’s natural ability to interact and connect with high school students was inspiring to witness. Our health students were captivated with her story and many students expressed that her message was heard loud and clear. Thank you, Kristi, for sharing such a painful event and turning this personal tragedy into a lesson to be remembered.”
— Jeanette Boyle, DHHS Health Educator, Dana Point, California

“Like many of us, I’ve lost friends and family in the last few years and reading What I Wish I’d Known, I discovered new and significant ways to cope with grief. Kristi Hugstad’s advice about sleeping on a lost spouse’s side of the bed so you don’t feel as alone, making sure you have adequate electrolytes such as vitamin D and telling yourself, “I have suffered enough, and now it is time to be free,” are just a few of the hundreds of ideas she offers in her unique book about finding your path to healing. Kristi’s honesty, courage and insight offer truths that can lead all of us to dance in the light.”
— David Whiting, Metro Columnist, The Orange County Register