ABOUT THE RESOURCE
Our youth resource will be centered on the pressing questions that young people are asking about faith and mental health. It will provide space to engage these questions and start important conversations in youth groups and church communities. 
 
In the summer of 2020, we conducted a global study and asked young people what they want to know about mental health and faith. In conjunction with additional research, this study enabled us to identify the issues youth are grappling with today.
 
Questions that emerged include:
  • What’s good about mental health? 
  • What does the Bible say about mental health? 
  • Why do I feel this way? 
  • What happens when we talk about mental health challenges? 
  • If you have a mental health challenge, can you get better?
  • How can I help my friend?
  • What can I do to take care of my mental health?

Our youth resource explores each of these questions, drawing on insights from mental health professionals, theologians, youth pastors, and evidence-based research. This educational and interactive resource also features the voices of young Christians with lived experiences of mental health challenges. Listening to their stories will not only reduce stigma and increase awareness within faith communities, but will also give young people a greater understanding of what it looks like to follow God during every season—including seasons of languishing. The resource is being developed by a trained counselor with extensive ministry experience. A Youth Advisory Council was involved in the early stages of research, and we are continuing to partner with young people on the resource. Sanctuary is committed to listening to the next generation and involving youth in the development process.

To receive a free guide with our recommended mental health resources for those working with youth, subscribe to our new youth newsletter. We'll send it to your inbox right after signing up. Subscribers will also receive quarterly updates with more content on youth, mental health, and faith, plus information about our progress on the resource.

SUBSCRIBE TO THE YOUTH NEWSLETTER

BEHIND-THE-SCENES OF PRODUCTION

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WHY CREATE A YOUTH RESOURCE?
We believe there is a vital need for youth to be able to talk about mental health and receive support and companionship in their faith communities. Barna’s latest research, The Open Generation Report, reveals that mental health is one of the greatest concerns for young people, and that they want to attend churches that prioritize this issue. Springtide Research Institute—a sociological research institute in the United States solely dedicated to young people ages 13 to 25—reports similar findings: “mental health, it turns out, is the biggest issue to address in order to do ministry that matters for young people.” 
 
At Sanctuary, our hope is that the next generation will experience the Church as a supportive place, and that youth leaders, parents, and youth will all be equipped to have conversations about mental health. This is why we are developing a youth resource.
Who is it for?

This series is for:

  • Young people with questions about mental health and mental health challenges
  • Young people living with mental health challenges
  • Young people supporting family and friends with mental health challenges
  • Youth leaders and ministers who want to engage their youth groups in conversations about mental health, mental health challenges, and faith 

Our target demographic is youth ages 11 to 15 years old.

What content is included?
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FaciLITATION Guide

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DISCUSSION Guide
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FilmS
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PARENTS' GUIDE

Similar to The Sanctuary Course, our youth resource is designed as an eight-part series. It will include: 

  • A facilitation guide for youth leaders 
  • An eight-week discussion guide for youth, complete with activities, exercises, and prayers 
  • Eight educational films featuring dynamic presenters, as well as the lived experience stories of young Christians
  • An informational document for parents
What is the purpose of the youth series?

Sanctuary’s youth resource is designed to raise awareness and reduce stigma by starting conversations about mental health in youth groups. By the end of this series, young people will have:

  • Increased their mental health literacy
  • Tackled the stigma surrounding mental illnesses
  • Learned how to care for their own mental health
  • Developed positive attitudes towards help-seeking 
  • Cultivated a greater understanding of God and explored what it looks like to follow God in seasons of flourishing and languishing mental health
  • Engaged in spiritual practices of companionship
Who can facilitate the resource?

This resource is designed to be led by leaders in your youth ministry. Everything you need will be downloadable from our online resource portal. This resource does not require you to have any special knowledge about mental health; it only requires a willingness to create a welcoming space for conversation and learning.

How can I access it?
This resource will be available for free on our online resource portal at portal.sanctuarymentalhealth.org.
When does it launch?
Sanctuary’s youth resource will be released in 2024. To stay up-to-date regarding the launch, subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on social media.

FAQS ABOUT THE SANCTUARY YOUTH SERIES

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR YOUTH NEWSLETTER 

COURSE STRUCTURE

    Coursebook

    The coursebook defines key terms, presents relevant research, addresses common questions, and explores important concepts from three perspectives: the psychological, the social, and the theological. This reading, done in advance of group meetings, helps participants connect around the session’s topic using a shared framework and language.
     

    Films

    The films elevate the voice of lived experience, emphasizing various aspects of the realities of living with mental health challenges as a young person. Mental health professionals, theologians, and church leaders contribute insights, helpful biblical integration, and ideas for community support. Participants watch the films together during group meetings. Note that films include content warnings; some participants may choose not to view certain films.
     

    Discussion Guide

    The discussion guides contain questions for your community to ponder together, along with opportunities for deeper reflection through exercises, activities, and prayers. These guides make facilitating The Sanctuary Youth Series simple, as they provide a step-by-step process for group meetings and opportunity to engage more deeply with the content that is most meaningful for each group.
     

    Also Includes:

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    FaciLITATION Guide

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    DISCUSSION Guide
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    FilmS
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    PARENTS' GUIDE

    CONTRIBUTORS

    Rev. Monica Coleman, PhD, MDiv

    REV. MONICA COLEMAN, PHD, MDIV

    Malcolm Guite, PhD

    MALCOLM GUITE, PHD

    Ed Ng, PhD, R Psych

    ED NG, PHD, R PSYCH

    Mental Health Professionals

    Licensed counsellors, psychiatrists, psychologists, registered nurses, and other clinicians share their expertise on mental health, mental illnesses, and recovery. These voices teach us about the scientific realities of mental health and the role medical services can play in diagnosis and recovery.

    Pastors and Theologians

    Christian leaders in the Church and in the academy thoughtfully connect faith and mental health using a biblical foundation. These voices encourage us to engage our Christian faith with our understanding of mental health and think creatively about self-care and how communities can offer support.

    People with Lived Experience

    People with lived experiences of mental health issues share their stories of diagnosis, recovery, ongoing challenges, and how their faith connects to it all. These voices give us the opportunity to hear real experiences, reduce stigma, and share our own challenges.

    OUR APPROACH

    Sanctuary’s resources integrate theological, psychological, and lived experience perspectives. They are developed with the conviction that informed and empathetic conversations about mental health challenges can transform communities of faith.
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    Informed

    Our resources are developed in consultation with mental health professionals, theologians, and people with lived experience—all from diverse denominational, racial, and cultural backgrounds. This allows us to place clinical and pastoral perspectives in dialogue with personal experience and community practices.
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    Empathetic

    Listening to someone’s story can broaden your perspective, reframe your understanding, and awaken your empathy. For this reason, the stories of people of faith with lived experience feature prominently in our resources. At Sanctuary, we believe it is important for individuals with mental health challenges to speak for themselves, and it is equally important for church communities to listen.

    PERSPECTIVES

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    Psychological

    Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Psychological perspectives primarily focus on the emotional and relational experiences of people living with mental health challenges. Our content is not intended to produce experts or mental health professionals; instead, it is designed to help you grow in awareness and empathy.
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    Social

    The social perspective focuses on the ways that mental health challenges affect both individuals and communities of faith. Research suggests that meaningful
    relationships and supportive communities play a key role in recovery. This perspective gives the opportunity to examine unique ways that the Church can support mental health and wellbeing.
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    Theological

    The theological perspective considers the ways that faith can help us understand and respond to the realities of mental health challenges. In particular, we examine how Christians read and interpret the Bible in light of lived experience, and how the Church responds to the call to be a redemptive community where everyone is welcome.

    HOW DO I BEGIN?

    The Sanctuary Course is available for free on our resource portal. Creating an account is simple, and then you can explore the materials of The Sanctuary Course and see how the course can benefit your community.

    Getting started with talking about mental health or facilitating The Sanctuary Course in your community can feel intimidating, which is why we designed a Facilitator’s Guide specifically for facilitators of The Sanctuary Course. This PDF can be found in the downloadable materials for the course on our resource portal. We have also created a quick start page for facilitators on our resource portal. You can check it out here.

    FAQ

    To see answers to frequently asked questions, click here.