News & Insights

Helpline makes strong debut during National Parent Leadership Month

During February, which is National Parent Leadership Month, the nonprofit Parents Anonymous is celebrating the successful launch of the new National Parent and Youth Helpline.

The Helpline has received more than 19,000 calls in its first few months. On Saturday, the group cut the ribbon on its new headquarters in Pasadena.

Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., spoke at the event, saying National Parent Leadership Month is the perfect time to reassure families they are not alone.

“It is a time for them to learn that there are resources available,” Chu noted. “You can change your life around and feel better yourself, but also help your children live better lives.”

Parents Anonymous created National Parent Leadership Month 30 years ago. The nation’s 174 million parents and young people who need emotional support can call or text 855-427-2736 or live-chat 24/7 on the website.

Read more

What Your Child Needs to Know by 5, 10 and 15, According to Experts

Tricky conversations with kids are par for the course when you become a parent. But while many know they have to introduce the idea of stranger danger or eventually explain the birds and the bees, plenty of other topics need to be understood by children by certain age milestones.

Children learn something new every day, and parents work hard to get them ready for adulthood. Sixty-three percent of parents who participated in the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health in 2019 said they are doing enough to prepare their teenagers for adulthood. While raising children is all about pointing them in the right direction, 52 percent of the 2,032 parents surveyed said it’s critical that teenagers have the opportunity to make mistakes.

Read more

Non-Profit Receives $10M Grant to Offer Free Mental Health Resources to Parents & Youth

Parents Anonymous, Inc., a national non-profit organization, announced news this week of a $10M grant they received from the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) of the United States (U.S.) Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to offer free mental health resources for both parents and youth. This 5-year grant will provide essential resources for the Helpline’s services to over 174 million parents and youth seeking life-changing support in the U.S.

Read more

Parents Anonymous Now Offers A Free National Parent & Youth Helpline 24/7

Thanks to a $10 million federal grant, Parents Anonymous, Inc. has expanded its ability to help parents and youth dealing with emotional and mental challenges. The organization’s National Parent & Youth Helpline is now offering immediate emotional support through calls, texts and chats answered by trained and caring staff 24 hours a day and seven days a week to parents, caregivers and youth up to 25 years old.

The expanded services are supported by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $10 million, with 100 percent funded by ACF/HHS.

Read more

KTAL NEWS Mental- Health Expert Gives Tips

Do you have the tools to help if your child is being bullied?

(KTAL/KMSS) – During the month of October, experts and specialists are educating schools and communities to raise awareness for bullying prevention.

Mental health experts want to share resources with parents and guardians to help people understand the impacts of bullying and the signs of suicidal ideation.

Dr. Lisa Pion-Berlin is the CEO of Parents Anonymous an organization that provides free mental health services through support groups and a multilingual helpline.

Screen Shot 2023 11 30 at 2.40.48 PM
Dr. Lisa Pion-Berlin bringing awareness to mental health, parenting and free available resources.

Watch the full interview here: Do you have the tools to help if your child is being bullied?

FORBES – To Break Generational Trauma We Have To Heal And Help Parents

It is well known that chronic stress has negative effects on both your mental and physical well-being. Chances of developing hypertension, memory loss, diabetes, depression and anxiety all increase the more stress we carry with us. But did you know it can be inherited by your children?

Prolonged stress and trauma significantly impact the fundamental components of the brain, to the extent that it can alter genes. According to Henry Ford Health, genes that have been modified can be inherited by children, making them more susceptible to and impacted by stress. Consequently, dysfunction can persist in families across generations, creating cycles of trauma. Read More…

Alarming rise in teen suicide rates sheds light on mental health crisis in Tennessee


A new report is shedding light on the state mental health across the country.

And while it is suicide prevention month, a recent rise in death rates is drawing attention to youth here in Tennessee.

50690419 b215 4ba1 9353 4ca33a47bbd1

According to the Sycamore Institute Study, in 2021, nearly 1 in 4 Tennessee high schoolers seriously considered attempting suicide, more than 1 in 10 tried, and 39 adolescents 12-17 died from suicide.

13% of Tennessee high schoolers reported attempting suicide in 2021. That’s slightly higher than the national rate of 10%.

“I’m speaking as a mom. I have twin 11 year olds, and they have experienced this with their peers, they’ve come home saying, ‘Mommy, so and so was talking about suicide,'” says Eve Nite, Executive Director of CIT Connect.

c3dbc380 9272 4c21 80f6 8c94c631ea5b

“That’s a scary thing for anybody, child or adult, to even think about. Because when people have suicidal thoughts, they don’t even know why they have them,” says Dr. Lisa Pion-Berlin, CEO of Parents Anonymous.

But as shocking as those numbers may sound. Eve Nite with Chattanooga non-profit CIT Connect says the data is not completely accurate.

“Our mental health data is inherently sexist and racist. And so when you look at this data, I hope that you take it with a grain of salt, realizing that the true problem is far greater than our data is even suggesting,” says Nite.

Nite says it is resources for teens that make all the difference.

The Sycamore Institute found that access to school-based mental health personnel varies county to county in Tennessee, with Hamilton County far from the lead.

b2d8aafd 530a 4ca0 b004 4aa5dd16fbd2

CIT Connect does training for law enforcement, first responders, and community agencies who might interact with someone who might be in a mental health crisis.

But it’s also about providing tools to parents who may not have all of the answers.

“We need to ask parents, ‘what do you need?’ ‘What do you want?’ ‘How can we help?’ Instead of deciding that for other people. Parents feel so blamed and shamed,” says Dr. Pion-Berlin.

Dr. Lisa Pion-Berlin is the CEO of Parents Anonymous, a nonprofit that provides free mental health services through support groups and its national multilingual helpline.

“Nationwide, we don’t have enough licensed clinicians, you’re gonna have to fight for your child,” says Nite.

If you’re struggling, remember you are NOT alone.

The national suicide and crisis lifeline is available by calling or texting 988.

There is also an online chatroom at

Unraveling the Myths: Dr. Lisa on Challenging Conceptions of Parenting

In an age where mental health discussions have gradually shifted from hushed whispers to open dialogues, the intricate relationship between mental well-being and parenting remains shrouded in layers of stigma, misinformation, and regulatory challenges. Within this complex framework, I sat down with Dr. Lisa, a luminary in the field and a tireless advocate for parents navigating the intersection of mental health and child-rearing. A conversation and a deep exploration into the heart of societal perceptions, the urgent need for change, and the transformative power of understanding and support ensued.

A First Step: Understanding Capacity, Regulation, and Law

As we initiated our dialogue, my attention pivoted to the intricate nexus of capacity, regulation, and legal stances on conception, parenting, child custody, and the overall influence of mental health. Drawing from her vast reservoir of experience and her pioneering mission with Parents Anonymous, Inc., Dr. Lisa provided insights that bridged the theoretical with the real, painting a comprehensive picture of many parents’ challenges.

I was particularly keen on deciphering Dr. Lisa’s proactive measures to reshape and reevaluate the current regulatory paradigm. Instead of an antagonistic stance against the establishment, she champions a perspective shift – fostering a holistic understanding of parenting in the backdrop of mental health adversities. This approach, rooted in authentic parents’ narratives, is instrumental in subtly yet profoundly altering the perceptions that shape regulatory decisions.

Support: A Concept in Need of Evolution

As our conversation progressed, the theme of “support” frequently surfaced. Dr. Lisa’s perspective on this was clear: genuine support isn’t just a buzzword. It demands a multi-dimensional approach — recognizing the need, conceptualizing it aptly, and reinforcing the support structures to ensure they are effective, responsive, and meaningful. And most critically, the entire system should be anchored in clinical efficacy. Real-world support mechanisms must be robust, evidence-backed, and tailored to empower parents with the necessary tools and resources.

However, recognizing the problem and discussing it is merely the beginning. Concrete steps are crucial. Advocacy takes center stage here. A powerful catalyst for change, advocacy can spotlight issues, mobilize collective action, and drive regulatory reform. With New York and California’s dense population centers and cultural influence, mobilizing advocates from these states could create a ripple effect, prompting other regions to introspect and adapt.

Dr. Lisa and I discussed the importance of grassroots movements, where individuals, especially those directly affected, come forward to share their narratives, challenge prevailing norms, and push for more empathetic regulations. The goal is to create a domino effect – as more people understand and empathize, the collective consciousness shifts, leading to more substantial, effective changes at the regulatory level.

Central to all these discussions is the omnipresent specter of stigma. Regulations and societal perceptions are often not just informed by clinical or logical standpoints but are tainted by stigma. This bias, sometimes overt but often covert, dictates how society perceives mental health, especially in the context of parenting.

One of Dr. Lisa’s foremost missions, closely aligned with her podcast “Breaking the Stigma,” is to directly confront and debunk these misconceptions. Stigma is not just a mental barrier; it has real-world implications. Parents might hesitate to seek help, fearing judgment or regulatory actions that might separate them from their children. By confronting stigma, we’re not just changing minds; we’re altering life trajectories, ensuring parents get the help they need and families stay together.

Through the collaboration of community movements and experts like Dr. Lisa, there is immense potential to dismantle long-standing biases gradually. This powerful synergy can transform ignorance into knowledge, indifference into empathy, and fear into unwavering support.

By joining forces, community movements, and experts can leverage their strengths to challenge and break down deep-rooted biases that have persisted for generations. Dr. Lisa and similar experts possess a wealth of knowledge and understanding about the causes and effects of biases, which can significantly contribute to creating awareness and fostering empathy within communities.

YouTube video

On the other hand, community movements possess the passion and dedication needed to instigate change at a grassroots level. They can reach a broad audience through organized initiatives and engage with people who may have previously been indifferent or unaware of the issues. By sharing personal stories and experiences, community movements can humanize the effects of biases, making them relatable and encouraging empathy among individuals.

Experts such as Dr. Lisa are critical in advocating for their expertise within their communities and beyond. They create opportunities for experts to share knowledge through workshops, panel discussions, and awareness campaigns. This helps bridge the gap between academic research and practical application, making valuable knowledge accessible and actionable for many individuals.

Ignorance can be transformed into knowledge. By presenting facts and evidence and creating spaces for open dialogue and discussion, communities can learn about the complexities of biases and their far-reaching implications. This increased knowledge and understanding can empower individuals to challenge their biases and make informed decisions that promote equality and inclusivity.

Apathy can be converted into compassion. Through sharing personal anecdotes and firsthand experiences, community initiatives can invoke sentiments and cultivate a collective sense of humanity among individuals. This emotional bond dismantles obstacles and cultivates a sincere aspiration to comprehend and uplift marginalized communities. The insights provided by Dr. Lisa can enrich these accounts, ensuring their alignment with factual data and maximizing their effectiveness in nurturing empathy.

Fear can be effectively countered and transformed into unwavering support through the collaboration of experts and community movements. Addressing the deep-seated prejudices and misconceptions that contribute to fear toward marginalized communities is crucial. By dispelling myths and promoting education, individuals can gain a more comprehensive understanding of the issues and realize the significance of solidarity with these groups. This unwavering support has the potential to bring about policy changes, bolster advocacy efforts, and ultimately reshape societal norms.

Collaboration between community movements and experts like Dr. Lisa presents an immense potential to dismantle long-standing biases. They can gradually replace ignorance with knowledge, indifference with empathy, and fear with unwavering support through their combined efforts. This powerful synergy can create lasting change and pave the way for a more inclusive and equitable society.

After our discussion, it became apparent that the path forward is clear and challenging. Dr. Lisa’s unwavering commitment to understanding and uplifting those in need, with deep knowledge and passionate enthusiasm, exemplifies the transformative potential of dedicated individuals. The shared vision between Dr. Lisa and Mental Health Affairs for a world that fully recognizes, empathizes with, and supports mental health resonates strongly with this writer. While challenges persist, we are poised to usher in an era where mental well-being is not a barrier to parenting but a facet of the broader human experience that is embraced, understood, and supported. The winds of change are upon us, and a brighter horizon awaits with continued dialogue and action.

Key Takeaways from Our Conversation with Dr. Lisa:

  1. The Multifaceted Nature of Mental Health: Mental health isn’t a standalone issue; it intersects deeply with parenting, societal norms, and regulatory frameworks. Understanding this complexity is the first step toward addressing it.
  2. Support Needs Substance: Genuine support goes beyond mere words. It requires a clinical and societal system tailored to understand, empathize with, and empower individuals navigating mental health challenges, particularly in parenting.
  3. Stigma Remains a Barrier: Despite advancements in mental health discourse, stigma casts a long shadow, often hindering individuals from seeking help or being open about their experiences.
  4. Advocacy is Power: Grassroots movements, sharing personal narratives, and engaging in open dialogues are potent tools for challenging established norms and catalyzing change.
  5. The Role of Regulation: While regulatory systems aim to protect, they often lack the nuance and understanding required to address the diverse challenges faced by parents with mental health conditions. A reevaluation and restructuring of these systems, rooted in empathy and clinical understanding, is imperative.

A Call-to-Action for Our Readers:

The dialogue around mental health, especially in the context of parenting, requires not just passive acknowledgment but active participation. Each one of us holds the potential to make a difference. Here’s how you can get involved:

  • Educate Yourself: Dive deep into resources, attend workshops, and listen to experts and real-life stories to understand the nuances of mental health.
  • Speak Up: Challenge and confront stigmatizing comments or beliefs in casual conversations or on public platforms. Every conversation matters.
  • Support Local Initiatives: Whether it’s a community support group, a mental health awareness event, or a workshop on parenting with mental health challenges, your participation can amplify its impact.
  • Advocate: Use your voice, whether online or offline, to push for regulatory changes recognizing and respecting the complexities of mental health in parenting.
  • Donate: No matter how small, financial contributions can greatly aid organizations working on the frontline of mental health support and advocacy.

“Understanding and support can change trajectories.” Let’s unite to ensure that mental health is not a whispered stigma but a shared journey toward a more compassionate and informed society.Dr. Lisa (Breaking the Stigma)

Parents Anonymous’ Free California Parent & Youth Helpline Celebrates Its Third Anniversary During Mental Health Awareness Month 

The California Department of Social Services Recognizes the Impact of the Nonprofit and Awards it with an Extended Two-Year, $4.7 Million Contract so the Free Helpline May Continue to Offer Emotional Support to Parents and Youth Struggling with Mental Illness 

LOS ANGELES (May 11, 2023) – This May, Parents Anonymous® celebrates the third anniversary of the California Parent & Youth Helpline®, a free Helpline for California diverse parents, children and youth up to 25 years old needing immediate emotional support and Evidence-Based Parents Anonymous® Groups to enhance mental health and enhance personal growth and change.  

“Research on the Helpline confirms that anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation is successful addressed by enhancing well-being and self-efficacy and more importantly diverse Parents, Children and Youth from every county in California has the opportunity to join a Free, Online Weekly Parents Anonymous® Group,” says Dr. Lisa Pion-Berlin, ACHT, ACSW and President and CEO at Parents Anonymous® Inc. “We are very excited to increase the Helpline hours to 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week starting July 1, 2023. We believe that asking for help is a sign of strength.” 

As a result of the positive impact of the multilingual and culturally responsive Helpline, which is staffed by professional counselors, Parents Anonymous Inc. was awarded a new $4.7 million contract from the California Department of Social Services (CDSS). The contract will provide the necessary funds so the Helpline may continue to serve parents and youth in need of support for another two years, with an option for a third year. 

“In California, we are committed to preserving and strengthening our mental health system,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary, California Health and Human Services Agency. “Our goal is to ensure that all Californians have access to the mental health services they need and the California Parent & Youth Helpline has proven to be a great resource for children and families.” 

Parents Anonymous launched The California Parent & Youth Helpline® in 2020 in response to the growing need for additional mental health resources because of COVID-19. With initial funding from CDSS, the Helpline has provided the necessary tools and resources to thousands of parents and children in need of emotional support for the last three years, including but not limited to:  

  • The Helpline has received over 57,000 calls, texts and live chats from diverse parents, children and youth from all 58 counties in California to date. 
  • 7,000+ Evidence-Based Parents Anonymous® services for diverse, parents, children and youth resulting in significant increases in resilience, well-being, and family functioning.  
  • Over 1,000,000 page views and unique visitors to the website seeking resources and to connect to all Evidence-Based Parents Anonymous® Programs statewide. 

A grateful local Latina, Native American mother of seven, grandmother of four, and kin provider had this to say about how the Helpline helped her and her family: 

“I have been very blessed to use The California Parent & Youth Helpline®. It has been a big part of my life and sanity especially during the pandemic during lockdown and school closures. The California Parent & Youth Helpline® is a LIFELINE for me and all my children. I struggle with mental health issues and addiction. I have used this service since it started, and because of the judgment-free, compassionate space, I can continue to be there for my family. This support has helped me grow and address my underlining emotions that in the past held me down and most importantly, it has helped me stop using drugs. During the pandemic, I was able to utilize the free, Weekly Evidence-Based Parents Anonymous® Groups to help reduce my feelings, and my children’s feelings, of isolation and fear.” 

The roles of parents and youth continue to grow more complex with the challenges of societal struggles, financial hardships, and the ever-changing daily life struggles. Parents Anonymous® is providing a step in the right direction to local Californians with its California Parent & Youth Helpline® and on a national level with its National Parent Helpline®. 

“The California Parent & Youth Helpline® has proven to be an excellent resource for children and youth in need of immediate emotional support – especially during the pandemic,” said Kim Johnson, Director, California Department of Social Services. “We are glad that the helpline will continue to be available in California, supporting the emotional and mental health needs of California parents, caregivers, and youth.” 

Those in need of support can call or text at 855-427-2736, or live chat from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. PST, 7 days a week through 

To learn more about the California Parent & Youth Helpline® please visit For more information about Parents Anonymous® and its programs visit

About Parents Anonymous 

Since 1969, Parents Anonymous Inc. has created and disseminated internationally various Evidence-Based Programs and initiatives that support the empowerment journey of diverse parents, children, and youth. According to the Federal Title IV-E Prevention Clearinghouse, Parents Anonymous® is the ONLY culturally responsive program that is proven to Effectively Improve Parenting, Enhance Mental Health and Reduce Substance Abuse while Ensuring Child Safety for diverse families with children and youth of all ages. Also, Parents Anonymous® started and partners with thousands of entities to celebrate National Parent Leadership Month® every February. With the support of the U.S. Congress, the National Parent Helpline® began in 1969 as the first and only nationwide emotional support system for Parents, Caregivers, Children & Youth. Since May 2020, Parents Anonymous has operated The California Parent and Youth Helpline® and online Parents Anonymous® Weekly Groups. Learn more at or by following on Facebook or Instagram.  

Bullying: How It Can Lead to Mental Distress, Suicide in Children

Source: Healthline

  • Researchers say bullying can be a factor in mental distress and suicide attempts by children and teens.
  • They say this type of distress is especially common among LGBTQ+ youth.
  • Experts say parents can help children who are bullied by teaching them emotional and interpersonal skills as well as assisting them in building relationships with school personnel.

The reasons behind sadness, depression, and suicide among teens are complex, but some forms of bullying may play a role in increasing the likelihood of their occurrence.

That’s the conclusion reached in a studyTrusted Source published today in the journal PLOS ONE.

Researchers say nearly one in three young people in the United States may experience bullying, with the occasional story of a teen’s suicide seemingly linked to bullying activity.

LGBTQ+ teens and bullying

However, not all bullying is created equal.

Researchers say that bullying based on a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or around hurtful sexual comments is consistently correlated with teens’ feelings of depression, mental distress, and acts of attempted suicide.

“We know that youth who engage in self-harming behaviors do so for a good reason – meaning a good reason to them. A young person who is bullied can become anxious and depressed, both part of the suicide equation,” said Jon Mattleman, MS, a clinician at the New England Clinical Director for Minding Your Mind, a nonprofit organization that provides mental health education and suicide prevention programs in schools, communities, and workplaces.

“We also know that 50 percent of LBGTQ+ students have seriously considered suicide versus 14 percent of heterosexual students, so this is a vulnerable population,” Mattleman told Healthline.

On the flip side, teens and adolescents who were physically bullied or bullied based on their religion did not appear to report heightened feelings of sadness or hopelessness compared to teens who were not bullied, the team researchers reported.

“Regarding bullying around religion, it’s worth considering that a victim of this may have greater and easier supports to access than a person who is bullied for gender or sexual orientation,” Mattleman noted. “For example, a youth bullied for religion can turn to parents, siblings, other family, their faith community, for support, whereas those same resources may be sources of conflict or additional rejection for a youth bullied for gender or sexual identity.”

Results from the study on bullying

The study included more than 70,000 responses from the 2018 Iowa Youth Survey of 6th, 8th, and 11th graders in Iowa.

While bullying around gender and sexual orientation had the strongest connections to mental distress, cyberbullying, social bullying, and race-based bullying were also significantly correlated to suicide attempts and mental anguish, the researchers reported.

“Being demeaned and put down impacts all aspects of well-being and results in kids questioning their worth, how they look, who they are, does anyone like them — every aspect of their identity can be challenged,” explained Lisa Pion-Berlin, PhD, a clinical hypnotherapist and chief executive officer of Parents Anonymous, a free national helpline that provides support for parents and children who are struggling.

“When they internalize these attacks, depression, self-harm, and often reckless behavior can emerge. If they doubt themselves, they are often too afraid to tell anyone. Sharing these worries is scary and challenging. Who to turn to? Who can help them? Do they fear for their safety? These are real questions,” Dr. Pion-Berlin told Healthline.

“Bullying is intentional and usually a repetitive behavior,” added Jillian Amodio, a social worker and founder of Moms for Mental Health.

“It can be easier to shake off one off-handed comment or mean look, but when it just keeps coming, we see how big the impact can be. Social media and the prevalence of cyberbullying have amplified the situation — the bullying behaviors literally follow kids everywhere they go,” Arnodio told Healthline.

“Suicide is the second-leading cause of deathTrusted Source among people aged 15 to 24 in the U.S. and bullying has a role to play,” she added.

How to help children who are bullying

“These findings are an important learning that can be utilized in not only training medical professionals but also those charged with educating our children in schools and institutions of higher learning,” said Dr. Faisal Tai, a psychiatrist and chief executive officer of PsychPlus.

“There are several ways that parents can help reduce the chances of their children being bullied in school,” he told Healthline. “Nurturing a positive family climate and teaching your kids emotional and interpersonal skills can be crucial. But establishing and building relationships with school personnel and other parents of children at the school can also be very helpful. Having a pathway of communication such as this can ensure that if problems do exist, you are in a position to get the support of educators and other staffers to make sure it is resolved amicably.”

Overall, parents and experts emphasized the importance of support and connection in helping children deal with bullying.

“As a parent, seeing your child endure bullying can be devastating, infuriating, and make one feel helpless,” said Lisa Lawless, PhD, a clinical psychotherapist and mother of an LGBTQ+ son.

“The best things a parent can do are provide compassionate listening, get educated and connected to the LGBT+ community, and celebrate it with their children,” Dr. Lawless told Healthline. “Providing a safe and loving environment is good for kids and their parents as it creates resilience and positivity.”

Parents should also stay alert for signs of depression and mental distress in their kids, although it can sometimes be hard to spot.

“Signs of depression can be any lack in routine — less sleep, less eating, not going out with friends, not talking to siblings or parents, etc.,” Pion-Berlin said. “Reach out and create a safe space to have them share what is going on. Reassure them you are not here to judge but help. Keep listening and think through the circumstances. Some situations could be more harmful than others. But think through what to do. Do the police need to be called? How can the school help? Do you have connections to a religious or community group that provides support?”

She also suggested calling the National Parent Helpline at 855-427-2736.

Date: February 15, 2023