Parent Resource Toolkit

What do we do?

A Brighter Day unites depression and stress
resources with teenagers and young adults.

We do this by promoting mental health
education through our website and
community-building events.

A Brighter Day Charity Virtual Gala 2021


If you need help, please reach out now

Immediate Emergency Services Call 911
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Call 988
Immediate Mental Health Resources and Essential Services Call 211


Alameda County
Text “SAFE” to 20121
Contra Costa County
Text “HOPE” to 20121
Crisis Text Line
Text “HOME” to 741741
National Alliance of Mental Illness
Text “NAMI” to 741741
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Text “START” to 88788
San Francisco Suicide Prevention
Text (415) 200-2920
The Trevor Project (LGBTQ+)
Text “START” to 678-678
Veterans Crisis Line
Text 838255


Alameda County
Call 1-(800)-309-2131
Contra Costa County
Call 1-(800)-833-2900
National Alliance of Mental Illness
Call 1-(800)-950-6264
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Call 1-(800)-799-7233
City of San Francisco
Call 1-(415)-781-0500
The Trevor Project (LGBTQ+)
Call 1-(866)-488-7386
Veterans Crisis Line
Call 1-(800)-902-5437

What is Depression?

Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States.

It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working.

Current research suggests that depression is caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.

While depression can happen at any age, it is now recognized as occurring in children and adolescents. Many chronic mood and anxiety disorders in adults begin as high levels of anxiety as children.

Causes of Depression

Depression is a complex mental illness. No one knows exactly what causes it, but it can happen
for a variety of reasons. Some reasons include, but are not limited to:

  • Brain chemistry. Neurotransmitters are naturally occurring brain chemicals that carry
    signals to other parts of your brain and body. When these chemicals are abnormal or
    impaired, the function of nerve receptors and nerve systems changes, leading to
  • Hormones. Changes in the body’s balance of hormones may be involved in causing or
    triggering depression.
  • Inherited traits. Depression is more common in people whose blood relatives also have the
    condition, such as a parent or grandparent
  • Early childhood trauma. Traumatic events during childhood, such as physical or emotional
    abuse, or loss of a parent, may cause changes in the brain that increase the risk of
  • Learned patterns of negative thinking. Teen depression may be linked to learning to feel
    helpless, rather than learning to feel capable of finding solutions for life challenges.

Risk Factors for Teen Depression

Many factors increase the risk of developing or triggering teen depression, including:

  • Having issues that negatively impact self-esteem, such as obesity, peer problems,
    long-term bullying or academic problems
  • Having been the victim or witness of violence, such as physical or sexual abuse
  • Having other mental health conditions, such as bipolar disorder, an anxiety
    disorder, a personality disorder, anorexia or bulimia
  • Having a learning disability or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Having ongoing pain or a chronic physical illness such as cancer, diabetes or
  • Having certain personality traits, such as low self-esteem or being overly
    dependent, self-critical or pessimistic
  • Abusing alcohol, nicotine or other drugs
  • Being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender in an unsupportive environment
  • Having a parent, grandparent or another blood relative with depression, bipolar
    disorder or alcohol use problems
  • Having a family member who died by suicide
  • Having a family with major communication and relationship problems
  • Having experienced recent stressful life events, such as parental divorce, parental
    military service or the death of a loved one

Treatment and Therapies

Depression, even the most severe cases, can be treated. The earlier that treatment can begin,
the more effective it is.

Depression is usually treated with psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of the two.


  • Some forms of treatment include: psychotherapy (commonly known as “talk therapy”),
    medication, exercise therapy, light therapy, and brain stimulation therapies

Signs and Symptoms of Depression

Symptoms of Depression:

  • Aches, pains, headaches, or cramps that won’t go away
  • Crankiness or irritability
  • Decreased energy
  • Digestive problems that don’t get better, even with treatment
  • Fatigue
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness
  • Loss of interest in things once pleasurable, including sex
  • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or sleeping too much
  • Overeating, or appetite loss
  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
  • Pessimism and hopelessness
  • Restlessness
  • Suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts
  • Trouble concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions

Signs of Depression:

  • Always talking or thinking about death
  • A sudden switch from sadness to extreme calmness, or appearing to be happy
  • Deep sadness, loss of interest, trouble sleeping and eating (that gets worse over time)
  • Making comments about being hopeless, helpless, or worthless
  • Saying things like “It would be better if I weren’t here” or “I want out”
  • Taking risks that could lead to death, such as driving through red lights
  • Talking or thinking about suicide

Eight Ways to Help
Someone with Depression

1. Provide Support

Your support and understanding can help your loved one during their time of need.

What you can do:

  • Be willing to listen. Listen carefully and avoid giving advice, and opinions, and making judgments. Listening to them and being understanding can be a powerful healing tool.
  • Make plans together. Offer your time to your loved one; join them on a walk, see a movie
    together, and share an enjoyable experience with them. Do not force them into doing
    something they do not feel comfortable with.
  • Offer assistance. Your loved one may not be able to complete tasks like they once did. Give
    suggestions about actions you would be willing to do and locate helpful organizations that they
    may benefit from.
  • Provide love and positivity. People with depression may criticize themselves and find fault with
    everything they do. Remind them of their positive qualities and how much they mean to you.

2. Learn the Symptoms of Depression

Because no two people are affected the same way by depression, symptoms may range from mild to severe. These symptoms can cause little to extreme problems in day-to-day activities such as school, work, social activities, relationships with others, and relationship with themselves. Please refer to Page 7 for a list of signs and symptoms.

3. Encourage Treatment

People with depression may not recognize that they are depressed and think that their feelings are normal. Some individuals feel ashamed about their depression and believe they should be able to overcome it without the support of others or treatment. But depression rarely gets better without treatment and may worsen.

How you can help:

  • Talk to the person about what you have observed and why you are concerned
  • Explain that depression is not a personal flaw or weakness.
  • Suggest seeking help from a mental health professional. Consider a medical doctor or a mental
    health provider such as a licensed psychologist or therapist.
  • Express your willingness to help by offering to help schedule appointments, going along with
    them to sessions, and spending time with them when they need company.

4. Identifying Warning Signs of WorseningDepression

Everyone experiences depression differently. Learn how depression affects your loved one and what to do when it gets worse. Worsening depression should be treated as soon as possible. Encourage them to partner with their medical team to create a plan for when symptoms progress.

5. Understand Suicide Risk

Those who have depression are at an increased risk for suicide. If your loved one is severely depressed, there may be possibility that they may feel suicidal. If necessary, take action.


  • Seek help. Contact the person’s doctor, mental health provider, or other health care
  • Call a suicide hotline number. The National Suicide Prevention Line can be reached at 1-
    (800)-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) to talk to a trained counselor.
  • Make sure the person is in a safe environment. If possible, eliminate things that could be
    used to perform self-harm or suicide.
  • Call 911 or your local emergency number if they are in danger of self-harm or suicide.

In Memory of
Jake Kallen

Every year, tens of thousands of teenagers struggle with depression, suicidal thoughts, deep sadness, isolation, stress, and the feeling of helplessness.

A Brighter Day Charity Virtual Gala 2021

This Teen Survival Toolkit was created to help educate parental figures about depression and share resources to find help for someone struggling with their mental health.

From my family to yours, I thank you for being part of A Brighter Day.

Elliot Kallen, Founder

A Brighter Day Charity Virtual Gala 2021