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Helpline for Parents Gets Lifeline in Governor’s New Budget


Thursday, January 13, 2022   

A helpline providing emergency emotional support for California parents and young people would get a three-year extension under Gov. Gavin Newsom's new budget proposal released this week.

The California Parent and Youth Helpline stands to get $4.7 million to continue its work helping people in distress.

Lisa Pion-Berlin, president and CEO of Parents Anonymous, which runs the helpline as part of its "Raising the Future" programs, said the helpline has received 16,500 calls, texts and chats since it started in the summer of 2020.

"Our calls are up 26% since July of last year," Pion-Berlin reported. "Every single month, our call volume is going higher and higher."

In June, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey found 70% of parents said they'd had recent mental health challenges, and 50% said they had suicidal thoughts in the past month. You can reach the helpline at 855-427-2736 Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Pion-Berlin said the trained counselors who answer the helpline teach self-calming and mindfulness techniques, help people build their support systems, connect them with weekly, and organize free Parents Anonymous online support groups and other services.

"What they get on the other end that's so important is somebody listening, who is not blaming and shaming them, and helping them deal with the immediate emotional issue that they're facing," Pion-Berlin explained.

The California Legislature has until mid-June to approve a budget.

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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