Helping Teens with Stress, Anxiety, and Depression

A Field Guide for Catholic Parents, Pastors, and Youth Leaders
Author: Roy Petitfils

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Format: Paperback

Publication date: March 8, 2019

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Winner of a 2020 Excellence in Publishing Award from the Association of Catholic Publishers (second place, ministry); 2020 Catholic Press Association book award (second place, family life).


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 today
  • differentiating healthy stress from toxic stress
  • simple steps to take after identifying a hurting kid, beginning with how to assess whether and how to step in
  • the 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.

Product Details

Pages: 160

Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5 inches

ISBN: 9781594718892

Imprint: Ave Maria Press

  • “A wonderful guide.”

    “This is a wonderful guide to help us be more confident and competent as we accompany teens.”

    Mike Patin
    Catholic speaker, facilitator, and consultant

  • A practical and information-packed book.”

    “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.”

    Elizabeth Madeo
    Director of Faith Formation at Annunciation Parish

  • “A great gift to our Church.”

    “Roy 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.”

    Mark Hart
    Executive Vice President at Life Teen International

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