Free Parenting Program Helps Orange County Children Navigate Anxiety and Fear

New Triple P—Positive Parenting Program shows what can help address massive rise in students feeling persistent sadness or hopelessness


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The COVID-19 crisis is creating uncertainty for everyone. As parents, we need to find a way to accept this uncertainty ourselves. Then, through our actions and words, we need to demonstrate this acceptance to our children (e.g. We don’t know when this is going to be over. I know it’s hard to not know. We just have to remind ourselves that we are doing our best to stay well and safe, and that the whole world is working together on this problem). Big changes to children’s lives can be hard and often scary, but they can also create opportunities for learning new skills (e.g. different ways of communicating with friends and loved ones).

SANTA ANA, Calif.--()--To help support a growing number of OC children, parents and caregivers grappling with high levels of anxiety, fear and sadness, OC Health Care Agency (HCA) Mental Health and Recovery services announced a summer campaign to support local kids during the weeks out of school.

“It has become clear with the pandemic that parents need support and additional tools to help their children cope with anxiety and feelings of fear,” said Dr. Veronica Kelley, Chief of HCA’s Mental Health and Recovery Services. “We want to empower parents to feel better equipped to help their families cope. The Fear-Less Triple P online program provides the timely mental health support we need today, and we are thrilled to make it available for free to every OC parent and caregiver.”

The campaign directs families to a free online course at supported by clinical evidence showing the best ways to help children break free from fear and anxiety. The problem of OC children suffering from anxiety, hopelessness and sadness is increasingly measured in stark terms, including research pre-COVID showing 45% diagnosed with anxiety disorders go without treatment.1 The problem has grown worse according to new CDC research.2 The Fear-Less online program is designed to help adults support the approximately 400,000 county children ages 6-14 in need of new emotional and developmental tools to cope with anxiety.

“We know that children who learn the skills to manage anxiety are better students in the classroom; they are in a better emotional space to handle the challenge of focusing their attention – and they are in a better position to actually enjoy school and connect with their friends and teachers,” said Dr. Randy Ahn, local OC Triple P Implementation Consultant. “We believe that OC parents who take advantage of this free program will feel and see their own skills improve at raising confident, capable children – children who are able to energetically explore their world without being held back by fear.”

The online program is made possible through the OC Health Care Agency (HCA) which has endorsed the clinical research underpinning the Fear-Less Triple P program: children’s fearfulness and anxious behaviors declined when parents completed the course and put into play what they learned.

A UCLA Center for Health Policy Research released in 2020 reported 22.6% of California children aged 12-17 self-reported needing help for emotional or mental health problems such as feeling sad, anxious or nervous.3

“We have seen our children struggle with stress and anxiety these past few years, especially because of the pandemic and the shelter-in-place orders that made it harder for them to spend time with friends and family,” said Meggan Lawrence, parent of two teens in Rancho Santa Margarita. “What I’m learning from the Fear-Less program is how to better start conversations with my children about those stresses—and that’s made a big difference for us.”

The strategies built into the Fear-Less Triple P Online course are useful for entire families and can be accessed for free by OC residents at: - The coursework is easily accessible on phone, computer or tablet and includes videos and interactive learning modules that take minutes to complete. Free online access to the program is made possible for 12 months and can be completed by parents and caregivers according to their own time, schedule and pacing.

1 Ghandour, R. M., Sherman, L. J., Vladutiu, C. J., Ali, M. M., Lynch, S. E., Bitsko, R. H., & Blumberg, S. J. (2019). Prevalence and treatment of depression, anxiety, and conduct problems in US children. The Journal of Pediatrics, 206, 256-267.

2 CDC. (2022). Adolescent Behaviors and Experiences Survey (ABES):

3 UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. (2020). California health interview survey.,127,1657,331,1656,171,1655,345,357,324,369,362,360,337,364,356,217,328,354,320,339,334,365,343,367,344,355,366,368,265,349,361,4,273,59,370,326,341,338,350,342,359,363,340,335&tf=127


Triple P: Randy Ahn, Implementation Consultant, Triple P America: (310) 694-7566;

OC Health Care Agency: (714) 834-2178;


Triple P: Randy Ahn, Implementation Consultant, Triple P America: (310) 694-7566;

OC Health Care Agency: (714) 834-2178;