Resiliency is the quality that allows for an individual to bounce back and adapt when faced with stress, adversity, or tragedy. Resilience has a lot to do with our emotions and mental health, our relationships, challenges, struggle, hope, and God’s promises. Healthy youth ministry helps to root young people in their Christian identity, regardless of what they face in life. This five-part study is designed to help young people to think about resilience and, through the Holy Spirit, to develop this quality in their faith lives.
The Family Activity Kit created by Spiritual First Aid is designed to equip families with Biblically-based tools and practices to help navigate life's challenges with fortitude and resilience. It could also be used in a church setting with Sunday School classes or youth groups.
In this podcast, part of Higher Things’ “Drive to School Podcast” series, Ashleigh Sheldon, a licensed mental health professional, and Pastor Harrison Goodman discuss the importance of having conversations around mental health and provide tips for how to maintain good mental wellness in the midst of life’s struggles.
It is essential that we equip students with the tools and guidance necessary to aid them in supporting loved ones in the grip of mental illness. This article helps us in encouraging youth and adults to support those around them struggling with mental health.
There are many types of mental health disorders that affect youth. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) from the American Psychiatric Association provides a standardized classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals across the United States in both clinical settings and with community populations. Additional information about specific mental health disorders and conditions that affect youth can be found on the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) website.
This article from Grace Alliance stresses the importance of helping youth develop a strong identity in Christ, especially as it relates to helping foster resiliency during a mental health struggle.
Learn how one youth group leader helped kids better understand their identity in Christ, develop supportive relationships with one another, and practice healthy habits towards better overall health.
Key Ministry has created some fantastic tips sheets to help parents, teachers, pastors, and Sunday School teachers better understand childhood anxiety and depression in kids up to 12 years of age. For each condition, the tip sheets explain what is happening in the child’s brain, how to spot the condition, suggestions for classrooms, Sunday School planning recommendations, helping these kids grow in their faith, and other best practices. There is also a tip sheet on ADHD.
UNSTUCK helps teens cope during times of uncertainty, especially after a disaster such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The materials are written for teens to go through on their own and at their own pace. Topics include: naming your feelings, grieving and creating a lament, taking care of yourself, and setting goals. A Biblical passage related to each key concept is highlighted which point to Jesus Christ as the source of our comfort and hope. Teens could also benefit by working through the resource with experienced youth ministry workers in small groups over four weeks.
In this article, Dr. Stephen Grcevich of Key Ministry discusses seven potential barriers to church involvement we might consider for teens with common mental health conditions and their families.
Are your youth involved with alcohol? It is quite likely! The issue of alcohol use and abuse is one which touches every person in your group in some way—whether it is a parent, a brother a sister, a friend or that person who has the problem. In this piece, you will explore the problem of alcohol abuse among teenagers. Youth will gain understanding for the reasons that people may begin to use or abuse alcohol and will seek alternative sources of support. Youth will be encouraged to help those around them who are troubled by alcohol or other chemical abuse. Finally, youth will discuss ways to have fun in life without alcohol.
I was addicted to drugs at 18 years old. I started developing an addiction at 14 and had a daily habit by 15. When I was 18, I began working for a guy at a mall kiosk who was a Christian. Through many conversations, he would seek to convince me why Christianity was true. For a year, I was very hostile to the conversations. At a time when I was very depressed and wanted some kind of relief, I finally, readily agreed to read the Bible. He suggested that I read Matthew because it was the first book of the New Testament. So I read it, God opened my eyes to his saving grace, and I became a Christian.
It's your worst nightmare as a church youth professional - students using substances at a church event. Many of us have found ourselves in similar situations that required some type of immediate action. Not all substance abuse situations are overt, and many times even the obvious situations require not just immediate action but multiple follow-up steps. All too often, our young people suffer in silence as they watch friends and family members get subtly sucked into the vortex created by substance abuse and addiction. This article gives great insight and practical advice on the subject of substance use.
This new guidebook from Action Alliance provides accessible, practical, and well-researched information on suicide prevention, specifically geared for those who work with youth. It helps faith leaders learn how to identify young people who may be at risk for suicide, provides concrete steps to take if someone is struggling, and encourages creating supportive communities. It also describes the unique and crucial role faith communities and faith leaders have in helping prevent youth suicide and fostering mental health.
Key steps to take to help someone who may be at risk for suicide.
This new resource, informed by faith community leaders and suicide prevention experts, aims to help equip faith leaders with the capabilities needed to prevent suicide and provide care and comfort for those affected by suicide.
Suicide is not something anyone wants to think about, let alone talk about. I have spoken often with despondent parents whose worst nightmare has become reality—their child has expressed thoughts of suicide.
The 1-2-3 Care Toolkit is intended to support caregivers on their journey towards trauma sensitivity. It is organized by topic, each offering a brief overview, specific tools that can be used with children, and where to find more information. Also included are handouts that can be used as teaching aids.
A synopsis and review of the book by the same title.
Ideas for youth ministries to prevents ACES
Mental Health America’s 2023 Back-to-School Toolkit is full of helpful information for students, teachers, school administrators, and parents on how to help young people navigate social media and technology in healthy ways. Topics include cyber-bullying, body image, and FOMO (fear of missing out). The Toolkit contains posters, tip sheets, sample emails, and other practical ready-to-use materials.
This resource from the Humanitarian Disaster Institute can help parents, family members, teachers, clergy, and volunteers learn how to recognize stress reactions, listen, and help support children after acts of violence and other traumatic events.
Dr. Vivek Murthy calls for a whole-of-society effort to mitigate the mental health impacts of the pandemic, to address longstanding challenges, and to prevent future mental health challenges. There is a section "What Educators, School Staff, and School District Can Do" on p. 16.
A handy reference and tip sheet for church workers and teachers.
A helpful guide for understanding how grief manifests itself in youth and how teachers and administrators can help.
Assists schools in implementing a coordinated response to the suicide death of a student. Includes information and tools that middle and high schools can use to help the school community cope and reduce suicide risk. The toolkit was developed in collaboration with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and in consultation with national experts, including school-based administrators and staff, clinicians, researchers, and crisis response professionals. It is designed primarily for administrators and staff but can also be useful for parents and communities.