For some reason reaching out and getting necessary help is seen as a negative. There’s like this unwritten law and it looks like this: DON’T struggle > DO struggle. It causes many students to feel like there’s no hope for their challenges with mental health issues like depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and attempts, so they don’t reach out, even in youth group.
We (the Church) need to change that, because God sees all life as valuable and filled with purpose. Our message to students needs to reflect these truths.
One of the things I’ve learned working with students who have struggled with mental health issues is that they are afraid to acknowledge it because of the stigma that if you’re broken mentally then you’re crazy, worthless, or a burden to everyone. I would say the number one thing I hear from students is that they don’t want to be a burden and/or an inconvenience to anyone.
Here are three things you can do to destroy the stigma in your youth group:
Teach About Brokenness – Students need to understand that perfection is unachievable this side of heaven. They need to hear that God isn’t looking for perfection. He’s looking for people who are faithful to the process. Be faithful to the redemption process to the end.
Teach About How We All Struggle – Students need to know that they are not alone in their struggles. They need to hear from someone who is being faithful to the process in spite of their struggles.
Teach About How God Loves and Views Us – They need to hear that God’s love can’t be earned. It can only be received. Also, his acceptance of us isn’t based on our ability to be perfect.
I actually got the opportunity to write a song. My goal was to encourage those who are struggling mentally, and with the stigma which comes with it. It’s also about a summons to the church to be a bridge connecting those who are often overlooked to Jesus. And when I say “overlooked,” I mean they have been deemed by some as demonic, sinful, not having enough faith, or being judged by God. So I pray that this video encourages someone and the church to do something.
So I pray that this video encourages someone to reach out, and I also pray this video encourages the Church to do something.
Hope it helps,