Youth Mental Health

Dear Parents,

On February 13th, 20th and 27th, Illuminate Youth will be discussing mental health challenges. Mental health challenges are medical conditions that disrupt a person's thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. This will be a difficult topic to cover, but my goal is to get two things across:

  1. Jesus doesn't stigmatize mental health challenges; He was sent to meet all human need with good news, hope, and freedom.

  2. To those who suffer: you are loved, you are valued, and you are not alone.

Mental Health Challenges has a lot of power when it is left in the shadows and not discussed openly, so we are going to take that power away from it by defining the more common mental health challenges that affect teens such as,

  1. Anxiety

  2. Depression

  3. Bipolar disorder

  4. Eating disorders – anorexia and bulimia

  5. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

  6. Self-Injury

  7. Suicide

My goal isn’t to diagnose; it is to equip students and encourage them to open up and talk to someone if they are dealing with a mental health challenge and to be a resource for a friend or family member who is struggling with it. Thirteen percent or more of youths aged 8 to 15 live with a mental health challenge severe enough to cause significant impairment in their day-to-day lives. This jumps to 21% in youths aged 13 to 18. Mental health challenges are not a life sentence; help is available, and hope is possible.

When we have a physical illness, sometimes we need a doctor. With a mental health challenge, we may need a doctor or therapist to get better. Regardless, we need to open up and talk about it so that we don’t feel alone.

I am giving your kids resources to take with them that go more in depth and give descriptions, warning signs, and tips for addressing common mental health challenges.

Three websites that have tremendous resources are:

These sites provide information and help for people with mental health challenges as well as info for family and friends of people who suffer.

We are not going to shy away from the tough stuff. We will discuss suicide and self-harm and how to seek help for ourselves and others.

The nights will conclude with prayer stations where each student will have quiet time to think and pray for a person in their life suffering with a mental health challenge, as well as time to pray for their own mental health.

Jesus was sent to meet every human need with good news, hope, and freedom. I want our students to know that includes mental health.

You are loved, you are valued, and you are not alone.

In love,
Devin Burton