Helping Teens with Stress, Anxiety, and Depression
A Field Guide for Catholic Parents, Pastors, and Youth Leaders
by Roy Petitfils
Pub Date 8 Mar 2019
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Do you struggle to know when or if it’s appropriate to step in to help a teen who seems stressed, anxious, or depressed? Do you know the signs to look for to determine whether a teen is in distress?
In Helping Teens with Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, Roy Petitfils—a Catholic author, speaker, and psychotherapist—offers his personal experience, advice, and faith to give parents, pastors, and youth leaders the knowledge, courage, and tools they need to step in, make a difference, and be the presence of Christ for teens in crisis.
Roy Petitfils knows what it’s like to be an addicted, depressed teenager, filled with self-loathing and desperate for help. He describes himself at high school graduation as by far the largest person in his hometown and yet feeling as though he were “stuck in Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak.” Weighing more than 500 pounds, he was addicted to food and hated himself.
Now a leading Catholic voice in youth advocacy and creator of the popular podcast Today’s Teenager, Petitfils entered adulthood a very different person than he is today. His life was radically changed by a handful of people in college who reached out in friendship and helped him set a new course.
Using personal life lessons and expertise gleaned from more than twenty-five years in youth ministry and private practice as a licensed counselor, Petitfils teaches parents, pastors, and youth leaders what they need to know about mental health issues among America’s youth. Whether teens need help coping with healthy levels of stress or face persistent, more serious problems with anxiety and depression, Petitfils will help the adults in their lives get comfortable with stepping in.
Petitfils offers information and advice on:the major causes of stress and anxiety in teens todaydifferentiating healthy stress from toxic stresssimple steps to take after identifying a hurting kid, beginning with how to assess whether and how to step inthe art of listening
He explores the support and comfort available through the sacraments, Catholic devotions, different forms of prayer, and reading the Bible. Ultimately, Petitfils identifies how to gently, yet persuasively guide hurting young people to deeper trust in the tender mercies of God.
A Note From the Publisher
“Working in youth ministry for more than two decades, I’ve seen firsthand the effects that growing stress and anxiety are having on our children, teens, and young adults.The reality and severity of this problem cannot be exposed or confronted enough. I’m so thankful for this new book by Roy Petitfils. He tackles such a pervasive dilemma head on by pulling from his own life experience, relevant statistics, substantial ministry experience, and the timeless wisdom of the Bible and the Church. Petitfils not only outlines the challenges we face while helping young souls, but also provides a practical road map for anyone to help and guide teens who are struggling. The result is a valuable tool for every parent, pastor, and youth leader charged with leading young souls to freedom and, ultimately, to heaven. This is a great gift to our Church.”
Executive Vice President
Life Teen International
“Many people know Roy Petitfils as a speaker and counselor with expertise in pastoral and clinical arenas. As his friend, I see a passion and drive behind the scenes that most won’t. No one works harder in terms of research, staying current with adolescent culture, and doing his own self-work. This book is a welcome and needed resource that springs from his passion, personal mission, and genuine desire to equip adults with knowledge and practical tools to step in when our caring desire is not enough. This is a wonderful guide to help us be more confident and competent as we accompany teens.”
Catholic speaker, facilitator, and consultant
“It is hard to navigate the difference between teenage woes and deeper issues that need attention. In this practical and information-packed book, Roy Petitfils gives adults an in-depth look at how to recognize when teens are in trouble then step in to help with effective tools from best practices in mental health care and the rich spiritual traditions of the Catholic Church.”
Director of Faith Formation