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Advocates Seek Funding for CA Parent and Youth Helpline

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Free online confidential parent support groups provide an emotional outlet to struggling California families. (Parents Anonymous)
Free online confidential parent support groups provide an emotional outlet to struggling California families. (Parents Anonymous)
 By Suzanne Potter - Producer, Contact
May 13, 2021

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The pandemic has brought suffering to millions of California families, so mental-health advocates are pressing the state for $3 million a year for three years to fund the California Parent and Youth Helpline.

The program has racked up 14,000 contacts since its debut last spring, in a partnership between Gov. Gavin Newsom and the nonprofit Parents Anonymous.

Dr. Lisa Pion-Berlin, president and CEO of the nonprofit, said she'd like the governor to mention it in his May budget revision, due out tomorrow.

"Parents are struggling with anxiety or depression," Pion-Berlin explained. "People just feel so isolated. There's nobody there. There's no one listening. This is non-judgmental, non-blaming and shaming. We are here to support the empowerment journey of parents, children and youth."

The Helpline website is caparentyouthhelpline.org, and their phone line, 855-4-A-PARENT, is staffed with counselors from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. seven days a week. They help people address a variety of issues, including ADHD, drug addiction, mental-health challenges, domestic violence, social isolation and emotional trauma from the coronavirus lockdown.

Dr. Pion-Berlin encouraged parents and caregivers to join one of their weekly 2-hour online support groups.

"Asking for help is a sign of strength," Pion-Berlin remarked. "And emotional support is the essence to changing any behaviors."

Parents Anonymous also is seeking $10 million in annual funding from Congress to support its national program, which has been helping families since 1969.

Disclosure: Parents Anonymous contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Family/Father Issues, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
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