“Asking for Help is a Sign of Strength” — Dr. Lisa Pion-Berlin, President and CEO of Parents Anonymous

This article discusses sensitive topics such as suicide and other potentially disturbing content. If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or self-harm, please reach out for help. The California Parent and Youth Helpline is 855-427-2736.

“If you don’t have sex with me, I’m going to kill myself.”

These are words that no one wants to hear, but what if you didn’t hear them; your 13-year-old daughter did at school.

You know the boy and you know his family, but what you don’t know is what to do next.

Should you keep your daughter home from school? Should you call his mother, or should you call the police?

The parent in this situation called the California Parent and Youth Helpline®, a free service that offers emotional support to adults, children, and youth in the state. A trained counselor informed her of the available options and advised her to talk to the principal, the school counselor, and the police, enabling her to get a juvenile restraining order against the boy.

Now in its fourth year, the California Parent and Youth Helpline is a partnership between Parents Anonymous®, Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Social Services. Created in May 2020, the nonprofit organization offers a 24/7 helpline in over 240 languages, online and in-person parenting support groups and mental health services — all free of charge. Their motto is “Asking for Help is a Sign of Strength®” and it’s something that Dr. Lisa Pion-Berlin, President and CEO of Parents Anonymous, takes to heart. “There isn’t any issue you can’t call us about,” she says. “The more we can do to support parents, children and youth, the more we do to support entire families.”

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