Many of you likely have seen articles about the data the CDC released recently about teens’ mental health. To get us all on the same page, here are two points that stick out.

In 2021,

  • More than 4 in 10 (42%) students felt persistently sad or hopeless
  • More than 1 in 5 (22%) students seriously considered attempting suicide and 1 in 10 (10%) attempted suicide.

And to no surprise, LGTBQ+ students, female students, and students across racial and ethnic groups are more affected than others.


 Jesus began to cry. (John 11:35)


Why the uptick?

Lots of people are trying to figure this out. There is no one reason, but here are a few I have seen:

  • Busyness and pressure to perform
  • Social media’s lies that we all have our act together and are happy and have full social lives
  • The lack of safety perceived in their worlds from school shootings to the climate crisis
  • The adolescent mental health crisis did not begin in 2021, but it took a turn for the worse in the pandemic


Is it hopeless?

Mental Health can’t be addressed in one area of a student’s life. Think of it like a pie chart, each sliver representing important people and communities in their life… school, sports, music, faith, parents, family, friends, clinical care, etc. On their own, if this is the only part of a youth’s circle of support to take mental health seriously, it isn’t enough. But if each piece of the pie works to reorient everything about what they do and how they relate to that student… then we start working together.


What can we do?

Since it’s my blog, here is what I suggest haha…

  • Try to avoid asking them about what colleges they are applying to. Instead, ask them if they are watching any good series or reading any good books or what their favorite candy is (they still LOVE candy)
  • Take their concerns about gun control and the climate seriously
  • Since we are an intergenerational community, share your stories of perspective and care that connect with their stories
  • Support our youth group … we have reframed nearly every decision in ministry with our young people to take seriously their mental health and support it. We want to be part of the solution and have removed things that lead to faith feeling like pressure, guilt or shame.
  • Share ways you work to make the world better and listen to how they do too
  • Talk about ways nature, breathing, therapy, friendships, and healthy coping tools have helped your health
  • Acknowledge that the world is hard, their world is hard, but we can do it together and that’s better


Our faith is a story of hope. Not a story without hard stuff, without pain, without suffering… but a story with people showing up in the hard stuff, people loving those most afflicted, and God being there all of the way. We can’t solve the mental health crisis alone, but each of us can be part of the pie by listening, loving, and caring.


-Written by Brittany Porch

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  1. Cynthia Hunt March 29, 2023 at 1:24 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the thoughtful note, Brittany. Helpful. Also a major issue with preK and all-age school children, as you know. AND, do something extra special for the teachers in the midst of this crisis — they are dealing with it every day!

  2. Louanne Zipfel March 29, 2023 at 2:14 pm - Reply

    Love your thoughts a info, I’d be happy to share my ordinary but happy life w teens once

  3. Robin Obetz March 29, 2023 at 4:25 pm - Reply

    Just a thought- until we as Believers share the 23rd Psalm, especially 23:2 and 3- He restoreth my soul, after He gives me food and drink- then, He leads me to paths of righteousness for His name’s sake- it ita wonderful picture of being totally taken csre of and being led in His plans, that we can share never being alone nor having to make ourselves better. How can we keep resharing psychological answers or sidestepping-our profound joy that we belong to Jesus? No hope in their own paths and yes, they feel immensely alone.

  4. Betty Lou Stull March 29, 2023 at 4:56 pm - Reply

    I used to be a volunteer on a suicide hotline. Things have changed dramatically now that teens have the mental health issues you described. My guess is that the training now includes teen statistics which didn’t used to be included.

  5. Rosemary Tolliver March 29, 2023 at 5:07 pm - Reply

    You and our youth program and church full of willing friends and mentors make me soooo grateful to be a part of this community.

  6. Martha Campbell April 3, 2023 at 3:17 pm - Reply

    It seems parents need to learn more about how to parent also.

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