‘Young people can often feel hopeless or overwhelmed especially in times of tragedy, and it’s our passion to make them feel seen, heard, and valued’
June 27, 2022
DENVER — Mental health issues in teens such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal tendencies have spiked by more than 60% since 2019. This mental health decline is exacerbated by national tragedies such as the recent horrific shootings in Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo, New York. According to the Washington Post, seven in ten school shootings have been carried out by people under the age of 18. With so many negative influences, today’s youth are more at risk than ever before.
However, there is hope. Nearly 70% of young people said that after the pandemic, they wouldn’t take for granted the relationships around them the way they did before. One source stated that youth who have positive, healthy relationships with mentors show increased high school graduation rates, healthier relationships and lifestyle choices, enhanced self-esteem and self-confidence, while also decreased likelihood of initiating drug and alcohol use and stronger relationships with parents, teachers, and peers.
Youth For Christ (YFC, www.yfc.net), a leader in the missional ministry community in America for 78 years, is well equipped to build deep and lasting relationships with teens. YFC is not only aware of this current mental health crisis, but willing and eager to stand in the gap and come alongside struggling youth.
“The tragedies kids face in this post-pandemic landscape are astronomical,” stated YFC President and CEO Jacob Bland. “But God can overcome this. There is a significant opportunity to reverse the trend by bringing hope in a broken world. Our words are imperfect, but we are emboldened to continue putting our prayers into action.
“Youth For Christ’s focus is coming alongside young people who are experiencing pivotal moments in life — such as the current tragedies that are happening in the world right now. Young people can often feel hopeless or overwhelmed especially in times of tragedy, and it’s our passion to make them feel seen, heard, and valued. In a world of chaos, YFC leaders are equipped to step into the darkness and be a consistent positive voice.”
Bland continued, “Jesus offers hope. We want young people to know that God sees them, understands, and cares deeply. This is why we recently launched a new online tool that’s ready to provide equipping and training to leaders who are ready to respond to this call.”
“Positive, godly relationships can really turn the tide for a kid who is struggling,” Bland stated. “This is what YFC is all about — connecting with youth during key moments in their lives and providing loving, biblical support.”
For more information about how YFC is ready to reach youth struggling with the mental health crisis, click here.
YFC chapters impact thousands of communities across the nation, seeking out and serving youth from all walks of life. Young people are silently struggling through a wide variety of challenging issues—and through the YFC ministry God empowers, they see the living power of a loving God. YFC trains its leaders in a proven, relational ministry model called 3Story®, which encourages staff and volunteers to be good news while also sharing the stories of the Good News of Jesus. It involves building relationships through the ups and downs of everyday life to lead people to Christ.
YFC has been a pillar of missional ministry since 1944, when the Dr. Billy Graham served as YFC’s first full-time staff member. Since then, Youth For Christ has continued to be both a rural and urban ministry on mission, and it is always about the message of Jesus. YFC reaches young people everywhere, working together with the local church and other like-minded partners to raise up lifelong followers of Jesus who lead by their godliness in lifestyle, devotion to the Word of God and prayer, passion for sharing the love of Christ, and commitment to social involvement. Youth For Christ operates in over 100 nations and has over 130 chapters that impact communities across America.