mental health, youth group, north dakota, and me

it’s 4:38pm, and i should be in the shower.  in less than three hours, i will stand before a group of 7-12th grade students at our church and talk about mental health, faith, and how the two meet. in my last minute preparations, i ran across a statistic that took my breath away.

not in a good way

according to HOPE for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the leading cause of death for ages 15-24 in north dakota.

what?

here i sit…with that information…breathe, stacy, breathe…

do i tell the kids that?

i think i have to tell them.

the kids who sit in front of me tonight are in that age group. they need to know that they do not have to kill themselves. they need to know that they can take each other seriously. they need to know that it isn’t a game or something that they should do because someone else did it. they need to know that they are important today and will be important tomorrow.

they need to know that there is help.

it seems odd that north dakota would have this issue, right? or maybe not.  people who live in north dakota are strong, hard-working, and private. when we stand behind a mask that we put on to keep that image, we often hurt ourselves. and others.

fear of being found out keeps us from saying anything to anyone. pull yourself up and keep on going. if anyone knew what went on inside my head, what would they think?

and there isn’t exactly a plethora of help here.  the thing is, though, that there is probably more help than people realize.

there are big churches here. there is good medical care here. it’s here – walk through the doors, open your mouths, and say the words that will get you some help.

that sounds hard.

and it is.

it isn’t easy for me hit “publish” on posts that reveal to the world that i struggle with energy shifts that cause mood shifts that keep me from wanting to say “help.” but i do it.

i do not do it so that you can look at me and feel sorry for me. i do it so that you can look inside yourself and say, “i can do it too. i can ask for help.”

i do it so that you can look at the person next to you in church and be ready when they say, “can you pray for me? i’m struggling with some feelings, and they scare me.”

i do it so that we stop whispering and wondering and wasting our lives caring about the wrong things.

mental illness is an illness. we only get better when we do all of the things that an illness requires. sometimes illness requires help, intervention, and care.

and that is what i’m going to the kids tonight.

God cares enough about you for you to get help to take care of you. the scary things inside of your head will be less scary when you ask for help, get help, and look to God for truth.  the point is to understand how to manage your emotions and energies so that you can live.

it doesn’t matter where we live, this is an issue. when we stop making it such a big deal to struggle and instead make it a big deal to manage, care, and assist, we will change the tide.

suicide should not be the leading cause of any age group anywhere.

reach out, hold a hand, and speak truth into each others’ lives.

today.

now.

Psalm 46:1 – God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

ps: if you know someone who took his or her life, it’s not your fault.  don’t beat yourself up about it. God doesn’t want you to hold onto that guilt.

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on a lighter note, the giveaway for “Meditations” the coloring book ends on 2/4 at 11:59pm – be sure to get in on it!

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5 Comments

Filed under Education, faith, Relationships

5 responses to “mental health, youth group, north dakota, and me

  1. Judie Seibel

    I will be praying for you tonight before/during/after youth group…God knows exactly what is needed.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jeanie

    Thank you, Stacy! This post was so needed! God bless you! Jesus is happy with you!

    Jeanie

    Like

  3. Pingback: Mental Health and the Art of Listening | slowingtheracingmind

  4. You keep it up now, undadstenr? Really good to know.

    Like

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