Mental Health

Mental Health

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. [Isaiah 43:2]

What is the role of the youth worker in tending to the mental well-being of young people? Youth ministry offers the unique gift of providing youth with a network of adults who care deeply for their health and well-being. Given the relational nature of working with youth, youth workers can often be on the front lines to identify a problem and react quickly to prevent a crisis or tragedy. In the longer term, youth workers are pastors to our children and walk with them as they form their identities as people of faith.

Training Modules

Mental Health
Cultivating Resilience, Well-Being and Authentic Happiness in YouthTheologians, psychologists and youth leaders discuss the importance of cultivating resilience in youth.
Finding a Grit Fit
Sabbath RestLeading theologians and youth practitioners explore the importance of sabbath-keeping for both youth and youth …
Tending to the Mental Health of Adolescents
Tending to the Mental Health of AdolescentsLeading theologians and pastors explore adolescent mental health and the role of youth ministry and …
Offering Effective Pastoral Care
Offering Effective Pastoral CareTheologians, philosophers, and pastors examine the importance of pastoral care to youth and their families …

Curricular and Sample Materials

Mental Health
Mental HealthArticles and resources on the mental health issues facing adolescents.
Dori Baker
ViolenceRev. Dr. Dori Baker and Dr. Patrick B. Reyes present a lecture on violence.
Becoming a Spiritual Athlete
Becoming a Spiritual AthleteThis lesson will help youth to develop spiritual practices that can help to prevent self-destructive behaviors.
Mental Health
The Forgotten BillionThis lesson will focus making youth aware of the injustice in the world.
Intelligent in More Ways Than One
Intelligent in More Ways Than OneIn this lesson, youth will learn to appreciate their own intelligence as well as the gifts of others.
Mental Health
Bravery and ImaginationIn this lesson, we will introduce young people to the idea of prophetic imagination.
Mental Health
Trusting God in Anxious TimesIn this lesson, youth will learn how faith can help them to deal with anxiety.
Quest for Life
Hope Never FailsThis lesson will focus on how sharing your biggest concerns with God can lead to a sense of hope.
Tuning in to Joy
Tuning in to JoyThis lesson will help youth to recognize joy in light of other emotions.
Depression in Biblical DaysThis lesson will help youth to see the Bible as a source of support when walking through depression.
Quest for Life
We Belong TogetherThis lesson is designed to bring youth awareness to injustice in the world.
Quest for Life
Creating a Sexual EthicThis lesson will help youth identify how faith values establish guidelines for a sexual ethic related to relationships with themselves and others.
Paths to a Joyful Expression of Self
Paths to a Joyful Expression of SelfThis lesson is designed as a bible study with youth around the question of "Who Am I Before God?"
Quest for Spirit
Who Am I Before God?This lesson asks youth to focus on the self that God gave them.
God's Work of Art - Your Brain
God’s Work of Art – Your BrainThis lesson will focus on how substance abuse can impact youth's ability to experience joy.
Fostering Vocational Discernment
Nurturing Joy: Emotional Health 101This lesson focuses on the important concerns of depression and suicide among youth.
Sexual Education Assessment Exercise
Sexual Education Assessment ExerciseThis lesson is designed to help groups become more intentional about communicating equitable, healthy, and positive sexuality education grounded in faith values.
Quest for Life
Being a Welcome and Inclusive Youth GroupThis lesson will explore creating a welcoming environments for teens of all sexual orientations and gender identities.
Quest for Life
Reprogramming Our Use of Digital PlatformsIn this lesson, youth will explore the culture of social media against a Christian vision of creation and image-bearing.

Articles and Readings

Sharon Ketcham
Family Instability, Lament and Blue HeronsAn essay by Sharon Galgay Ketcham on the impact of family instability from the Joy and Adolescent Faith and Flourishing project.
Elizabeth Conde-Frazier
Thrive Squad Chases Down Joy ShoplifterAn essay by Elizabeth Conde-Frazier on youth, poverty and finding joy from the Joy and Adolescent Faith and Flourishing project.
Dori Baker
Recovering Joy in the Afterburn of ViolenceAn essay by Dori Baker and Patrick Reyes on finding joy and flourishing from the Joy and Adolescent Faith and Flourishing project
Mental Health
Mental HealthArticles and resources on the mental health issues facing adolescents.
Dr. Rodger Nishioka
Searching for Joy: A “Tangled Portrait”Dr. Rodger Nishioka, Benton Family Associate Professor of Christian Formation at Columbia Theological Seminary looks at understanding the neuroscience of adolescents development.
Dr. Lisa Miller
Spiritual Awakening: Joy and Depression A Unified PathwayDr. Lisa Miller, Professor and Director of Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, looks at the relationship between joy and depression in adolescence.
Opportunities and Obstacles for Joy During Adolescence
Opportunities and Obstacles for Joy During AdolescenceMatthew Kuan Johnson looks at joy during adolescence from a cognitive science perspective.
David White
Rejoicing in Adolescence: A Parable of GodDavid White, C. Ellis and Nancy Gribble Nelson Professor of Christian Education and Professor in Methodist Studies at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary on whether adolescence constitutes an aesthetic or joyful stage in the life cycle.

Best Practice Videos

Mental Health
Mental HealthTending to the Mental Health of Youth
Yale Youth Ministry Institute