Youth Mental Health Challenge

December 28, 2021

Yesterday marked the ending of a hopeful month for PHPC Youth, as we wrapped up our community mental health challenge. 

In an effort to raise awareness for mental health concerns and to lead by example, 50 of our youth and college students signed up to participate in a two week challenge, involving daily tasks to raise awareness or practice self care. 

Kate McCrea, a senior in the Youth House, spoke this message to PHPC Youth - “Please know that whatever you are feeling, those emotions are ever so valuable. You matter, and there are people who love you and who are there to support you along this journey. You are not a burden, you are worthy of a long, abundant life.” 

Together, we journaled our worries and wishes, we baked new recipes and old favorites, we drew pictures and painted colorfully, we moved and appreciated our bodies, and we slowed our breathing as an invitation to pause. We listened to podcasts and heard voices of encouragement and empathy. We watched convicting and hard-to-hear TED Talks about the reality of mental health experiences. We paid closer attention to our social media timelines and what voices are speaking louder than others. We made intentional changes to our daily rhythms for the sake of our well-being. 

PHPC Youth- you showed up for it all. You are a group of committed and passionate young people that cling tightly to the belief that there is a better tomorrow ahead of us, and that there is so much we can learn from the days that are behind us. 

You gave me hope that while there is so much uncertainty in our world at the moment, I can lean on the certainty that our world is going to continue to grow in empathy, justice, and sacred spaces for all emotional well-being. 

Thank you, PHPC Youth, for stepping into this challenge and saying yes to the call to create a world that seeks to remove the mental health stigma. Today and tomorrow, we say yes to talking about mental health, to being present with each other when things get hard, and celebrating one another through the small things and the big things. 

This challenge does not end now that the month of October is almost over. I wish for this just to be another step in our mental health journey. I am so grateful that we are walking together on that journey. 

In the convicting words of Kate McCrea, “life is not perfect. It’s messy, but each day we have the chance to wake up and work for a better world, without the fear of being judged for struggling and asking for help. So, if you are struggling to reach out and ask someone for help, the world is better with you in it.” 

When asked about why this mental health challenge was important, PHPC Youth said this:

“I think this mental health challenge is important, especially now, because there are so many things that are unknown and out of our control. Having this experience allows me to take charge of my health and helps me see what I can control like what I see on social media, how much I exercise, who I interact with.”

“As someone who struggles with anxiety, the mental health challenges allowed me to proactively take care of my mental health, which helped to prevent me from spiraling. On days where my mental health was bad, it helped me to slow everything down, which made me feel way better.”

“It’s important to focus on ourselves often and do what’s best for our minds. So many people only pay attention to their physical health but mental health can be just as damaging to a person so we have to take care of our minds.”

“This challenge is so important because whether you are struggling with your mental health or not, you need support, community, and set time to take care of yourself.”

When asked about how this mental health challenge affected them personally, PHPC Youth offered these reflections: 

“This challenge has helped to view myself differently and make my mental state more important. It helped me to create tactics and build routines that I can benefit from. I am continuing to use some of these tasks because of the benefits I am gaining from them. Because of this challenge, I feel more relaxed and content with my mental health.”

“I was really affected by the tasks that were focused on de-stressing and taking off whatever was weighing on me. I feel overwhelmed and stressed a lot of the time, so devoting my time to something creative, writing to myself, and spending time at church with great people is so important.”

“This challenge impacted me in many ways. I learned that I am not alone through anything. Mental health matters, and there are so many ways of coping and helping with struggles you may have with your mental health.”

“This challenge impacted me in many ways. I learned that I am not alone through anything. Mental health matters, and there are so many ways of coping and helping with struggles you may have with your mental health.”

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