Metropolis News

Back to all news

Given that May is Mental Health Awareness Month, the Metropolis of Chicago is reposting a video of one of the most attended panel discussions at the 2023 Clergy-Laity Assembly last October. 

The panel discussion focused on adolescent mental health awareness by a panel of subject matter experts organized by Metropolis Council Member and Board-Certified Pediatrician, Dr. Alexandria Kalina and Fr. Kosmas Kallis. 

Below are the key takeaways from the discussion. The full discussion can be viewed here: at

Watch now!

  • Teenagers today experience significantly high uncontrolled and unmanaged technology use (an average of 8 hours 39 minutes per day vs. 34 minutes of reading), which negatively impacts mind, body and soul. A 2021 study revealed that 42% of adolescents (57% of girls) experienced persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness. Parents should hold ongoing conversations with their kids about screen time and social media. Kids should feel that their parents respect their needs to be connected to their friends on social media but also that kids should honor their parents’ concerns about restricting screen time and content they are consuming online.
  • Adolescents are in the stage of development where they wonder “who am I?” and often turn to peers and social media for answers given that it is easy and everywhere around them. A crucial message parents should deliver patiently and repeatedly is that their kids are children of God and have dignity, talents, and gifts. Parents should encourage their children to have discussions about who they are, but also seek to ground those discussions in the Church, especially in a setting of like-minded peers in their parishes and communities.  
  • A certain amount of anxiety is normal for adolescents. But given the rate of technological change and disruption seen in society today, many adolescents experience higher levels of anxiety. Although they may not articulate it, kids are searching for sources of stability and comfort. There are two important things parents can do. One is to consciously model Orthodox Christian behavior and action within their home. Kids will see this and be influenced by it. Another is to seek out a trusted counselor (whether a clergy or a professional therapist) when anxiety escalates, as talk therapy for teenagers has been shown to be more effective than medication. 


Remember, kids respond well when they see their parents actively listen, being present, empathizing with their experiences, and modeling good behaviors. Trust your intuition, the process, and God. If you believe your child or loved one is experiencing anxiety, depression, or higher than normal levels of stress, don’t forget to pray, seek the company of loved ones, and make room for spiritual guidance with your priest. The Church always is here for you!