Resources for youth mental health
"Some people with mental health problems today are almost guaranteed to live a life in poverty. And the number of people who suffer from poor mental health is larger than you might think. One in 5 new mothers develop a mental health problem around the time of the birth of their child. Up to one in 4 of us will have a problem – perhaps a form of depression or anxiety – this year alone. There is the terrible fact that suicide has become the leading cause of death for men under 50.
"Mental illness isn’t contagious. There’s nothing to be frightened of. As a country, we need to be far more mature about this.Less hushed tones, less whispering; more frank and open discussion. We need to take away that shame, that embarrassment, let people know that they’re not in this alone, that when the clouds descend, they don’t have to suffer silently."
David Cameron - part of speech on the principles behind the Life Chances programme.
Let’s take a look at actual initiatives being run by churches in these areas according to my 2014 National Church and Social Action survey (Ranking in brackets ).
Mental health/Stress counselling [28th out of 40 social action initiatives]
So addressing mental health is not a prevalent activity and I can see a couple of reasons for this; the range and complexity of conditions and the specialism required. In addition, community franchises addressing mental health do not exist.
So where can you start?
Premier Mind and Soul is an excellent website for information and resources including a Mental Health Access Pack from Liveabilty and Mind and Soul.
Focusing on children and young people in terms of Life Chances, there are also resources here on anxiety, eating disorders, self-harm, etc.
As background, there is a recording of a seminar 'Generation Distress' by Dr Kate Middleton, psychologist, author and one of the directors of Mind and Soul.
The description is:
"Emotional and mental health problems in children and young people – how your church needs to respond. This seminar will help you to think about what you can do to make a difference. We will look at the severity of the problem, consider preventative steps, and how we might promote good emotional health. With frontline mental health services in crisis, how can you and your church help save minds and save lives?"
From the Mind and Soul site; listen or download.
Regarding training; for self-harm look at selfharm.co.uk, for wider issues, look at Mercy Ministries MPower Pastoral training programme.
It's a sensitive area but with compassion and prayer as well, the Church is well placed to help this generation.
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Geoff Knott, 29/06/2016