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Mental Health Support

Mental illness of the youth is the largest epidemic going on in our world today.

Ironically, Teenagers today are the most connected generation in the history of the world, while at the same time the loneliest. According to a study by Cigna U.S. on loneliness, 73% of Generation Z (anyone born from 2000-2015) have reported feeling sometimes or always alone. That is a huge percentage of individuals who are simply feeling isolated and it is significantly more than previous generations. loneliness is just the tip of the ice burgh, however. In fact, “Consequently, loneliness in young adults can exacerbate or be a catalyst for depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts, which in turn leads to more loneliness. That’s because the symptoms of depression and anxiety, such as low self-esteem and low energy, often prevent people from reaching out to others and engaging in social activities” (thenewportacademy.com).  Not that loneliness is the only cause of feelings such as depression and anxiety, but it can be a big ingredient.

Because along with loneliness, there are rising levels of anxiety and depression in our youth as well.  Another Pew Research survey showed that 7 in 10 U.S. teens, said that anxiety and depression is a major problem among people their age living in the community where they live. As the years have gone on the total number of teenagers experiencing depression has increased 59% between 2007 and 2017. And anxiety has done just the same.

Why are these kids feeling isolated? Why are the statistics rising so much? What happens if we don’t do something?

Mental illness can be fatal.

It breaks the hearts of all to hear, but is important for all to know so that something can be done.

Suicide is a storm that has progressively grown over the course of the past couple of decades. Devastatingly, it is the second leading cause of death for individuals between the ages of 15 and 24. According to the CDC, from 2007 through 2017, suicide rates amongst teenagers have spiked 56%.  And sadly, it does not stop there. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the number jumped 15% (use a percentage) In 2018 and has reportedly only gone up from there. It is evident this a very real and serious problem amongst the teen population.

Attempted suicides are a little hard to track but as of 2018 alone 1.4 million American’s were reported to have been hospitalized for the attempt of self-harm. It can only be wondered how many Teens are thinking about it.

Suicide is the tragic end after a long fight against metal illness such as depression, anxiety, loneliness, and other painful struggles. PhD, licensed psychologist and marriage/family therapist at Loma Linda University Behavioral Medicine Center, Jennifer Weniger, stated,

“Suicide is caused by a combination of an individual feeling like they don’t belong in society, feeling like they are a burden on others, having the means to die by suicide, and feeling trapped by current problems without seeing a solution,”

The good news is however, Is that there is ALWAYS another option besides suicide. These kids don’t ever have to be alone and they NEVER have to go through this themselves. The simple intervening of a confident, caring, and joyful adult can absolutely be enough to save any kids life.

What They Need

Kids today need to exit isolation. It is there in which our thoughts become to much to bear and we become our own enemies. But when you’re with others , you have a team of individuals who help you fight the fight, beat it, and grow.

Kids need someone to listen and be involved. Kids who feel alone and are struggling need to be heard. They need to talk to someone older who has been through life and can show kids that there is peace on the other side of this struggle. Someone who an actively listen to whatever the child has to say and be a safe haven for that individual.

Kids need purpose. Purpose is well needed in the upcoming generations. All kids who harm themselves or are struggling with depression are feeling as if they don’t have factor to contribute to the world. They need to know that the world is in dire need of them. It needs there creativity, their kindness, their love, and compassion.

Kids need joy. In this world of brokenness, kids need to know that its ok to laugh and that it actually is for the better of all things that they find joy. Joy is not a mere simple “feeling” but it is a love for the greater good. One might say is it is grounded in hope that no matter what happens all will be well in the end, and it is that hope that gives a us joy even in our darkest hours.

Kids need Jesus. Jesus brought the kingdom of heaven hear to earth and has claimed that from himself  flows the river of life to all the nations. There is nothing more purpose giving then to know that you are apart of a perfect kingdom that is destined to restore all of creation and you play a part in that since you are in the body of Christ. And there is nothing that gives you more sense of connection then to know that your are family all around the world who follow Jesus. He is the answer to all brokenness, in him is the salvation for all who are suffering.

How We Are Going To Help

Kids today need a group of friends who truly encourage and inspire them to grow and heal through the internal struggles going on. They need a group in which the light of Jesus is present, in which his spirit is prevalent and will cast out all shadows from within their minds.

We are providing intimate friend groups for the youth so they never have to be alone. In these groups the youth are encouraged to exit isolation and connect with positive uplifting peers and leaders. As meetings are held frequently, the connection of relationships is focused on. Ice breaker games and other fun activities are used to break down walls between the youth. As bonds are formed kids become more comfortable talking about what’s going on in their life.

Adult leaders are there to be completely present and attentive to whatever the youth have to share. Making them top priority, we engage the youth and make sure that they are involved, healthy and having fun as they grow.

Whenever we get to the point where students might share something very personal with us such as anxiety or depression, we make it our first point to make sure that the student is communicating with their parents about what is going on. Then if the student seems to be in place of potential harm of ones self, we make sure that their guardians are aware and we are  willing to help parents find professional counselors whom are well qualified with helping youth overcome their internal struggles.

We are devoted to sticking by the students through and through. Spending time with them by engaging in fun activities while getting to know them will help them develop senses of trust and safety. When they get to know wise loving leader they will be so impacted that it will change their life. Sorrow will by transformed into joy, crying will change to laughter, and their life will be made new by Jesus.