Mental health is key to spiritual health. -Gwen Sprague, Ministry Director
Sarah walked into club without making eye contact and her demeanor expressed defeat and being stand-offish. My heart sank. Over the past few days I’d observed that she was interacting less with others and the sparkle in her eye was dulling. She wasn’t herself and her answers during small group time reflected it. It was time to dig a little deeper about her recent changes.
Once inviting Sarah to have a conversation after school the next day, I came to the conclusion that a lot was going on in her life with a death in the family, struggles with friends at school and now she just didn’t have a zeal for life like she normally did. I shared with Sarah part of my own story regarding my previous struggles with mental health and what the Bible says about seeking peace and not anxiousness.
Mental health is a crucial part of the well-being of any middle school or high school student and we know through experience that if a student is in a really unhealthy place with their mental health, they often put their faith on the back burner (whether that’s on purpose or by their lack of ability to focus on anything other than trying to survive each day). When a student is going through these valleys, we have the honor and responsibility to guide them to an overall healthy place through Godly counsel.
With Sarah, we connected with her school guidance counselor, talked with her parents and even referred her to a local Christian counselor. Sarah is working on her mental health and is growing spiritually as she continues to stay connected with other Christ-followers. And when she sees the hurt and pain her peers are experiencing, she has even started sharing her faith and hope with them.
Engaging in authentic relationships gives us the ability to see teens’ needs and respond through the counsel of the Holy Spirit. YFC is so thankful for the more than 50 leaders that are in a position to see and respond!