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Anxiety, Stress, and Your Teen: A Christmas Story

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‘Tis the season to be merry and not so merry…

As parents, we are painfully aware of the flu season, the never-ending Covid season, and the sadness and loneliness adults can feel this time of the year.

Did you also know, however, that our teens also rank the winter months as the saddest time of the year for them? December is not the number one suicide month, but it is the month that sets up the new year for our teens. This can cause your teen anxiety, stress, and potential depression, all of which can–and will–make a difference in their mental health.

Why is your teen stressed, anxious or lonely? 

Let’s face it, teens today are more stressed-out than previous generations about their school, homework, friendships, college, family dynamics, and more.

We can discuss whether this is right or wrong, but by being non-judgmental, this is real. According to the CDC, teen depression has grown in a generation by more than 50%. This has translated into the current epidemic of teen suicide. Teen suicide is the third leading cause of death for our precious young ages 10-24.

Is your teen at risk for suicide? 

Check-in with your teen.

A hug, kiss, and saying “I love you” are terrific, but tragedy has taught us that this may not be enough to solve these real, fundamental problems.

Here are some observational questions for you to keep in mind:

  •  Is your teen separating themselves from the family, from their friends, from their classes?
  • Has your teen become overly moody?
  • Has your teen’s sleep pattern changed dramatically?
  • Has your teen’s eating pattern changed dramatically?
  • Is your teen now ill or “not feeling well” regularly?
  • Is your teen more argumentative?
  • Has your teen been talking about death?
  • Does you sense feelings of of loneliness, shame, guilt, humiliation, or rejection with your teen?
  • Has your teen talked about saying goodbye?
  • Has your teen experienced unexplained crying?
  • Do you sense feelings of unworthiness or failure with your teen?

Here are a few concrete steps you can take as a parent. Keep in mind, nothing will beat great in-depth conversations with your teen.

1. Make all dinners cell-phone-free dinners. 

     〉No one, including you, should be texting, talking, or anything else interrupting the conversation.

2. Take a walk with your teen and ask about classes, teachers, friends, and themselves. 

     〉Be persistent with your in-depth questions. Find out if your teen feels lonely or isolated.

3. Look for appropriate counseling with A Brighter Day. 

     〉You can provide and use the texting program by typing BRIGHTER to 741741 every minute of every day. This works for both your teen and you, and it will connect you with a trained crisis counselor.

     〉You can begin an online Zoom Counseling Program with BetterHelp through the website and scholarships are available to help you.

     〉It can also begin at school with their counseling services. You can ask your pediatrician for a referral. 

This time in history can be considered the most challenging time for teens in America. I completely understand that for some this doesn’t make sense. But, the reality is the reality. 

Let’s make the difference – be the difference – in our teen’s health. 

Here’s to wishing you a Happy Chanukkah or Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

For more information, please call me at 510-206-1103 or email me at

All my best,

Elliot Kallen, President

A Brighter Day



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