Mental Health: You Can Make a Difference

Mental Health: You Can Make a Difference

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One-third of high school students experience poor mental health, including frequent feelings of hopelessness and suicidal thoughts, during the pandemic (Jones SE, Ethier KA, Hertz M, et al., 2022*). Poor mental health and thoughts of suicide are even higher among LGBTQ+ youth.

We can work to improve mental health in our community. Connections with others at home, in school and in the community can improve mental health during and after the pandemic. Here is how you can help.
 
May 15, 2022 is Mental Health Sunday on the UCC calendar. The United Church of Christ Mental Health Network has resources to help congregations raise awareness and reduce the stigma of mental illness. Mental Health and Wellness: Worship Resources for All contains prayers, liturgies, and sermon starters you can use in worship. Speaking openly in worship about the challenges of poor mental health reduces stigma, resulting in youth and adults feeling more comfortable talking about their concerns.

After I gave a message on mental health during worship one Sunday, the pastor noted that people approached him to talk about their mental health challenges. The door was opened for them to feel less alone in their struggle and seen for who they are as a whole person.
 
In a previous resource published by the Mental Health Network, Radical Belonging, we are reminded that “Mental illness and disability are part of the natural diversity of creation, neither a flaw nor a blessing, but one of the diverse ways of being an embodied creature. The image of God is not as a set of capabilities that can be listed and measured according to standards of exchange value, such that their absence makes someone less human; rather, it is a sign of intrinsic goodness and preciousness that is vulnerable and expressed differently in each person.” (UCC Mental Health Network, 2021)
 
Whether you recognize mental health on May 15, or any other day of the year, here are resources you can use to increase awareness, reduce stigma, and share the love of Jesus for ALL of God’s children.

Resources

Mental Health Awareness Month with Mental Health America

      Mental Health Month 2022 Toolkit

      LGBTQ+ Resources

      Tips for finding QTBIPOC affirming mental health providers

      Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week (May 3–9) National Federation of Families

 United Church of Christ Mental Health Network  Resource Links (mhn-ucc.org)

      W.I.S.E. Congregations UCC Mental Health Network: 
      Welcoming Inclusive Supportive and Engaged

      UCC Mental Health Network, Radical Belonging, 2021

Other Resources 

     Stress Awareness Month (June) Health Resource Network - Resources
 
     PTSD Awareness Month with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
 
* Jones SE, Ethier KA, Hertz M, et al. Mental Health, Suicidality, and Connectedness Among High School Students During the COVID-19 Pandemic — Adolescent Behaviors and Experiences Survey, United States, January–June 2021. MMWR Suppl 2022;71(Suppl-3):16–21. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.su7103a3external icon.

           

 
 

Author

ringen headshot.jpeg
Debbie Ringen

Deborah is the Minister of Health and Wellness at the Southern New England Conference.

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