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Every Day is Mental Health Awareness for Parents

Mental Health Awareness

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I love themed months—they make us feel good, highlight important issues and spark engagement. The downside is that we often forget about the issue for another 11 months. For parents of teenagers, however, who may be experiencing some “issues,” the concern is ongoing.

Have you noticed signs of depression or anxiety in your teen? Symptoms can include withdrawal from social situations, changes in grades, eating habits, and sleeping patterns, as well as a general lack of enthusiasm for the future.

Signs Your Teen Might Be Struggling

Recognizing these signs early is the first step toward proactive support:

  • Withdrawal from social situations, friends, and family
  • Declining grades
  • Changes in eating and sleeping habits
  • Being quieter than usual
  • Lack of enthusiasm for the upcoming summer
  • Apprehension about tomorrow and future events
  • Exhibiting minimal energy and moping around
  • Giving simplistic answers, resembling the limited vocabulary of “cave people”

Any combination of one or two of these traits could indicate depression, and it’s critical to address this TODAY.

Effective Communication Means Opening the Dialogue

The greatest strength you have as a parent is effective communication, even if it doesn’t always feel effective. Learning to ask the right questions in a non-judgmental way is key. For instance, instead of a general “How was your day?” which might get a monosyllabic “OK,” try more specific questions. Ask what they learned today, their favorite and least favorite classes—and why, their favorite and least favorite teachers—and why, how their friends are doing, and their plans for the summer. These inquiries can provide deeper insights into their mental state.

Consider having these conversations during uninterrupted times such as dinner without cell phones, car rides to events, or during a weekly walk—just the two of you without distractions.

Practical and Proactive Steps for Parents

Once you recognize that your teen needs help, here are some proactive steps:

  • Consult with your pediatrician or a school counselor for referrals to mental health professionals.
  • Visit A Brighter Day for a wide array of resources.
  • Provide your teens with the 24/7 Crisis Text Line available across all 50 states. They can text BRIGHTER to 741741 to connect with a trained counselor anytime, free of charge.
  • If you seek live counseling, which can be invaluable, be aware it may take up to 10 weeks to secure an appointment. We offer FREE teen Zoom counseling sessions, with the first appointment possible within about a week. More details are available on our website.

Inaction is not a viable option when it comes to dealing with teen depression and anxiety.  We all want to catch this before it gets out of control and something really bad happens.

Feel free to reach out anytime at 510-206-1103 or



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