Youth’s Mental Health
American society is losing its faith. As Christianity becomes less prevalent, researchers are finding a correlation between the loss of faith and the rapid decline of youth mental health. More than 1 in 4 girls reported that they had seriously contemplated attempting suicide during the pandemic. This is twice the rate of boys. Research shows that the best way to address these negative thoughts is connection and communication. Studies show that meaningful relationships, particularly ones with positive adults, can make a monumental difference in the lives of teens struggling with their mental health.
Youth For Christ (YFC, www.yfc.net), a fixture in youth ministry for nearly eight decades, has been coming alongside teens during pivotal moments in their lives and building positive relationships to point teens to Christ. YFC leaders and volunteers build relationships that are sustained through ongoing involvement as young people navigate the highs and lows of the ongoing mental health crisis.
Positive Role Models
Fresno YFC works with the local church and other like-minded partners to raise up lifelong followers of Jesus who lead by their godliness in lifestyle, devotion to the Word of God and prayer, passion for sharing the love of Christ, and commitment to social involvement. When it comes to teen mental health, having positive adult role models can make all the difference, according to Fresno YFC Director of Ministry Aubrey Bisher.
“Today’s teens have been dealt a tough hand,” said Bisher. “Many teens struggled with the loneliness and isolation of the pandemic and are still trying to figure out their place in the world. For those who don’t know the saving grace of the Gospel, the situation is even more dire.”
God is Listening
A teen in YFC’s Campus Life ministry noted how the relationships she fostered through YFC — with her peers, adults, and with Christ — helped her through her severe mental health issues.
“God really helped me through my depression,” the teen noted. “I was really struggling with feeling lonely and just prayed to God that He would give me a little sister as a friend. When my mom got pregnant, it felt like an answer to prayer, but then she unfortunately had a miscarriage. I went back to God and just begged him for another chance for a sister, and He provided! I don’t feel as lonely now that I have a sister to bond with and I know that God is listening and cares about what’s going on in my life.”
“Teens just want to feel heard, cared for, and loved,” said Bisher. “It’s our mission to go out and provide meaningful fellowship that makes them feel valued and understood. No matter what teens are going through, we just want to emit the love of Christ through every interaction, so they know that they are loved, not only by us but also by God.”