EveryDay Strong

A new approach to anxiety and depression


We're on a mission to build resilient kids and strong communities.

Every year, middle school and high schoolers in Utah are asked:

During the past 12 months, did you ever feel so sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or more in a row that you stopped doing some usual activities?*

The number of children answering yes to this question has almost doubled in the last 6 years. More of our children feel alone and sad than ever before, and could be at risk for clinical depression.

( *This question comes from the Utah SHARP data. You can learn more about SHARP data here)

If you're like most people, you're wondering, what's the solution? What can I possibly to do help the people around me?

Here's a new way to think about it:

We all know that a kid who's hungry can't focus on making good grades. 

But kids have other needs that are just as important.  They need to feel safe. They need to feel connected to the people around them. And they need to feel confident in their abilities and skills.

These are the pillars of emotional health.


If your friend was having an asthma attack, you wouldn't say: "what’s causing this?" 

Instead, you'd waste no time in figuring out what her needs are: can she breathe? Does she need to sit down? Then you’d work hard to meet those needs. 

Emotional well-being isn't that different.

When kids' needs to feel safe, connected, and confident are met,

they thrive.

Child Psychiatrist Dr. Matt Swenson explains the three things that create a resilient teenager

As a parent, grandparent, teacher, friend, or neighbor, you can start building everyday resilience by building safety, connection and confidence in the children around you.



It is easy to believe that most children are safe. But even if a child may be safe, he may not feel safe. He may be afraid of getting in trouble or letting a loved one down.

A child who feels safe knows that she can tell the adults in her life the truth about herself, and she will always be loved, no matter what.



Connection is more than just being in the same space as your child. Connection is doing activities that the child enjoys, even if you don't always enjoy that activity.

Connection is when a child feels their parent, teacher or friend really understands her.



After a child begins to feel safe and connected with those around them, he can start working on becoming confident in his abilities and develop pride in his work.

Keep in mind: it's more important to praise a child for the accomplishments she cares about, not just the ones that look impressive from the outside.


"It doesn't matter how many interventions we give a child—if their core needs to feel safe, connected, and confident aren't being met, you'll find it difficult to help that child. When those needs are met, children are remarkably resilient."

- Barbara Leavitt, MPA, founder of Help Me Grow Utah


"This approach is different from most other ones out there. It empowers parents. It empowers the child. If I could magically wish for one thing, I would wish for parents, on a daily or weekly basis, to look at their kids and ask themselves 'what can I do this week to help improve and facilitate my children's sense of safety, their connections, and their competence?'"

-Dr. Matt Swenson, child psychiatrist, Intermountain Healthcare


"I use this framework every day with my grandchildren. I used to focus on a sort of carrot and stick approach--but when I ask myself instead, 'what needs aren't met in this child?' I find that I'm more compassionate, a better listener, and ultimately a more effective grandparent."

Jack Holmes, 6 kids, 28 grandkids, and 2 great-grandkids

We're not going to stop until every child in every neighborhood feels safe, connected and confident. We can't do it without you.

If you know someone who needs additional resources, you can dial 2-1-1 at any time from any phone and talk directly to one of our community resource specialists. They can help connect you with free or low-cost counseling services, support groups, or crisis services.

You can also reach EveryDay Strong directly by emailing  or dialing 801-691-5336.