By Andy Hale
“When I was a kid, we had to walk to school in the snow, over three mountains, and with grizzly bears on the loose,” we have all had that conversation before with our parents and grandparents.
Every generation thinks they had it more challenging than the generation after them. And yet, this generation of adolescence is facing more pressure than ever before.
Pew released a study last year that found nearly 70% of teens believe that anxiety and depression are significant issues among their peers. Experts have seen a tremendous rise in mental health issues and depression among teenagers.
Just imagine the toll this global pandemic has taken on Generation Z. Many of the spaces they usually go to talk about and cope with these struggles are not physically available, including the church.
“The church should be the safest space to talk about all of our struggles. And yet, it is the scariest place to talk about anxiety and stress,” said Kara Powell, the executive director of Fuller Youth Institute.
In January, the Fuller Youth Institute released “Faith in an Anxious World,” a resource geared toward giving families and churches a platform for necessary conversations about mental health.
“While we were not staring into a crystal ball in January when we released this curriculum about anxiety among teenagers, we are certainly grateful for how God led us,” said Powell. “It wasn’t as much of looking into a crystal ball as it was looking in the rearview mirror. When we spent time listening to parents and youth leaders, we discovered that questions were being asked about anxiety, depression, and suicide.”
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Andy Hale is the creator and host of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Podcast. Hale is the senior pastor of University Baptist Church of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, following eight years as the founding pastor of Mosaic Church of Clayton and five years as CBF’s church start specialist. Follow on Twitter @haleandy