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Perhaps more importantly for the future of our children, we need to engage with the causes of the mental health epidemic in our society. If a hole opened up in the high street of our town and people kept falling in and breaking their legs, would we respond by training more paramedics, triage nurses and surgeons? Or would we fill the hole?

Filling ‘the hole’ of mental health issues means we need to agree on what the causes are. We need to enter the debate about how pressures on young people from academia, the media and the internet can create negative thinking. We need to challenge the cultural norms which lead to anxiety, depression and hopelessness. And as the Church we need to provide alternatives.

We need to promote a culture which says “it’s OK to be not OK”, we need to put our identity in Christ above and beyond our identity in celebrity or materialism or the job we do. We need to help young people engage with spiritual disciplines like sabbath, retreat and prayer – things that centre them in the here and now and not the pain of the past or the worry about the future. Above all, we need to pray – for young people who are hurting, for their parents who are feeling lost and ashamed and for the professionals at CAMHS and other services who are stretched and overwhelmed.

For more on mental health, check out the October issue of Premier Youth and Childrens Work