From the YMI Director: The Mental Health Conversation… Yes, Again
In the past few years, as I have looked at the landscape of youth ministry, I continue to see the same thing: the decline in mental health in our young people. Indeed, one can hardly open up a youth ministry book—or newsletter article!—without being struck by the alarming statistics and concerning trends of the mental health of adolescents.
The narrative is exhausting, y’all.
And: it can be hard to maintain hope that things will change anytime soon.
June is Mental Health Awareness Month, and there are a few pieces that I want to lift up for you, as you ponder this topic:
- Beloved, know that you are not alone in your fatigue. It is an ever-present topic for many of us. And there are times when it can feel heavy, and hard.
- Beloved, know that you are not alone in your work. There is a reason that the “Tending to the Mental Health of Adolescents” training module on our website gets updated more frequently than any other (and is one of our most robust offerings). Please feel free to check it out here. We are committed to providing as many resources as you need.
- Beloved, know that you are not alone in your hope. I too hope for a day when the future looks a little brighter for this field, and for our young people. The stigma against mental health conversations is—thanks be to God—starting to die a long overdue death. While more children and youth are suffering under the strains of mental health, more are also seeking help. We have reason to hope that, while we are in a difficult season for our youths’ well-being, it will not always be thus.
- Beloved, know that your mental health matters, too. We at the YMI talk a lot about tending to those in this field, and we encourage you to do what you can to remain spiritually centered and grounded. When you have 5 minutes to spare, check out this video from the Rev. Dr. Nathan Stucky on holy rest for youth workers.
Beloved of God, know that you are just that: beloved. Which means that you are never alone. We are with you: with resources, help, and deep care. Not just for what you do, but for who you are. Take care of yourselves.
With you on the journey,