Youth Depression and Positive Mental Health

This website provides resources for parents who have concerns about the emotional and behavioral health of their child or teen, and want to know more about what they can do to help them grow up healthy and safe. You will find links to answers to questions parents have, including:

What can I do as a parent to help my child foster positive mental health and handle life’s challenges?

Are my youngster’s behaviors just part of “normal” adolescence or should I be worried?

How do I know if my child is depressed and what can I do to help?

When a teen talks about suicide, what should a parent do?

Where can I go for more help?

All caring parents strive to help their children be successful and happy, and often seek guidance regarding ways to promote achievement, positive self-esteem, adaptive problem-solving skills and resiliency. Broadly speaking, resiliency is the capacity to handle stress well. While none of us can avoid stress, there are a number of ways that parents can build “protective factors” in their children in order to foster resiliency. Parents can spend time with their teens, be good role models, teach good values and a sense of responsibility, as well as set rules and stick with them. Trusting your child to make good choices and continuing to love and support them when they make poor choices will help them learn from their mistakes and handle adversity in a healthy way. In addition, the Fairfax County Youth Survey has identified the following assets as being associated with reduced symptoms of depression in youth: participation in extra-curricular activities, volunteering, following rules, practicing problem-solving skills, and accepting responsibility for behaviors and choices.

The Fairfax County Youth Survey provides a wealth of information about a variety of topics related to our youth, from sleep, and nutritional habits, to protective factors and risk factors that influence their physical and mental well being. In addition, substance abuse behaviors and symptoms of depression and suicidal thoughts and feelings are reported.

Emergency Services Information:

  • Merrifield Center Emergency Services
    703 573-5679
    The Merrifield Center offers a range of clinical programming. Emergency Services, staffed 24 hours per day, seven days per week, works with people in psychiatric crisis who need immediate attention.
  • CrisisLink Regional Hotline: 703-527-4077
    CrisisLink Regional Textline: Text NEEDHELP to 85511
    CrisisLink brings immediate help, hope, and healing to empower individuals facing serious life challenges, suicidal thoughts, emotional or situational problems.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-SUICIDE

Call 911 in case of a life threatening emergency

New Resources:

Major Depression Resource Center

The Suicide Prevention Resource Center – “SPARK Talks: Suicide Prevention, Innovation, and Action”

Coalition to Support Grieving Students

Merrifield Center Opening in January 20115 – New location for many of CSB services formerly located at Woodburn Mental Health Center






FCPS Tip Line

Quick Links/Resources:

Emergency Services

Epi-Aid 2015-003: Undetermined risk factors for suicide among youth, ages 10-24: Report and Q & As

Fostering Positive Mental Health in Children

Adolescent Development

Childhood Depression

Depression and Suicide Risk

Mental Health Resources and Emergency Information

What Parents Can Do

What FCPS Can Do

Treatments for Depression

Community Services and National Resources

Related Topics


Video Message:

Screening for Depression
Play video



Mary Ann Panarelli, Ed.D.

Webpage Curator

Keyanna Williams

Last Updated

February 8, 2016