Parents and leaders can use the resources on LDS.org to better minister to youth who face emotional and mental issues.
Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women General President, explained,
Because of our constant connection to social media we are much more aware of the many tragedies and natural disasters in the world, which contributes to feelings of fear and anxiety. At times, it feels as if the whole earth is in commotion (see D&C 45:26)…
These conditions and other factors of life in the 21st century contribute to statistics that say one in four people will be affected by mental or emotional illness at some point in their lives. Our youth are often among those who are dealing with the challenges of mental and emotional issues. Because we have the gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives, our youth may mistakenly feel that they must be doing something wrong if they experience mental or emotional distress, perhaps thinking that their struggles are a result of sin or unrighteousness. But one of the purposes of life on earth is to be tested and tried, including mentally and emotionally. Sometimes these issues can be short-term and other times they can last a lifetime. This does not mean that our Heavenly Father has forgotten them. The good news of the gospel assures us that because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, there is always hope and help. This is a message our youth need to hear often.
As parents and leaders, we need to be aware of the signs of emotional distress and be better prepared to counsel our children and youth who may be dealing with these very real issues.
Hope and Help
HopeandHelp.lds.org (also accessible from the LDS.org main menu under Families and Individuals). This section contains a wealth of information on the topics listed below. Each topic contains suggestions, encouragement, and resources to help those who struggle with these issues as well as the loved ones who support them.
These topics will be enhanced over time and additional topics will be added:
- Death, Grieving, and Loss
- Emotional and Mental Health
- Mormon and Gay
- Overcoming Pornography
- Pregnant and Single
- Single-Parent Families
Emotional and Mental Health
MentalHealth.lds.org (also accessible from the HopeandHelp.lds.org page) is a page with suggestions, encouragement, and resources to help those who struggle with a variety of emotional and mental health issues as well as the loved ones who support them. There are encouraging talks and articles and an extensive collection of questions and answers. You will find links to Church, community, and even national websites with helpful information and resources.
The main video on this page features Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, who talks about his own struggles during one difficult period of his life. It also includes personal experiences from other members who live with ongoing mental health challenges and how they found help and healing through the gospel, support from loved ones, and help from professional counseling.
Suicide: Prevention and Ministering
PreventingSuicide.lds.org (also accessible from the HopeandHelp.lds.org page) is a website with helpful awareness and prevention resources as well as supportive counsel for those struggling with thoughts of suicide, those who have survived an attempt, and for those who have lost a loved one.
It is important to understand this issue and realize that talking about suicide will not increase the likelihood that someone will attempt suicide. This resource outlines common warning signs of suicide, tips for talking to someone who is struggling, and ideas for being supportive of those who deal with this serious issue. You cannot predict when someone will need your help, so it is important to learn what to say and do so that you are prepared when the time comes.
Counseling Resources (at CounselingResources.lds.org) is available to members of stake and ward councils to understand better how to help members with issues such as those listed above. This resource provides easy access to gospel teachings, the counsel of Church leaders, scripture references, assessment tools, and other Church resources.
The Liahona, Ensign, New Era, and Friend magazines often publish articles on topics such as those listed above with counsel from Church leaders and practical advice on how to confront life’s challenges.
Resources for Parents
The Home and Family site (accessible from the LDS.org main menu under Families and Individuals) has helpful resources for parents and leaders.
I am an LDS Clinical Psychologist in Springfield, MO and have a website mypracticalpsychologist.com and blog for the purpose of helping teens and adults with emotional challenges. I have also written a book “Approaching Life With Confidence: Defeat Depression and Anxiety by Taking Charge of Your Mind” which I wrote to help teens and adults overcome depression and anxiety. I have worked for 20 years with children and adolescents in a Psychiatric hospital and in my outpatient practice addressing emotional challenges of youth. I am anxious to reach out to teens in particular who are struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts.