As Mental Health Awareness month begins,  we are excited to be a part of helpful conversations regarding mental health. Here at Goby Ministries, we are comfortable talking and sharing about mental health. But we know that mental health is often viewed as a taboo topic.

Mental health encompasses our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It impacts how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health affects us at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. Mental illness can take many forms, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, and more. 

Stress and expectations around academic performance and extracurricular activities are key contributors to mental health issues of our kids and teenagers. Combined with increasing rates of social isolation and technology overuse, it is clear that mental health has become a serious problem for many young people. A recent Harvard study found that “The proportion who reported clinically meaningful symptoms of depression, anxiety, or behavior problems doubled in our sample from about one-third of kids before the pandemic to two-thirds of kids after.

Your Kids Need You
Hey Families, my heart is to help you be the best you can be when it comes to your mental health. Not just for you but your kids as well. You have the most significant impact on your kid’s mental wellness. But I know so many parents who are struggling with their mental health. You may be thinking to yourself, “if I were doing better, my child would do better.” We must be so careful when it comes to statements like this. Shame can sneak in so quickly, causing us to either minimize the problem or rush to a solution. Neither one of those things are very good. The challenge is to understand that we work on our mental health daily. We are committed to providing you with tools and resources to help you along your journey. Check out the free resources we are adding over the next few months! 

Mental Health Should Be Your Priority
Not everybody has mental issues, but everybody needs to work on their mental health. Why? Because something unexpected is coming. It may not be national. It may not be worldwide. It may not be something like COVID. But in your home, something unexpected is coming. Working on our mental health, it’s not just a good idea, it’s a God idea. Cultivating healthy habits such as practicing mindfulness, seeking out supportive relationships, and keeping a regular schedule with plenty of downtime can help you stay attuned to your mental state. Spending time with friends or family members who support your well-being can provide a much-needed sense of security and grounding. You can read a blog post I did a few months back on the unforced rhythms of grace. I share a few things I do to keep focused on my mental health. 

For the rest of this month, we will talk about what you shouldn’t do, what you shouldn’t say, and what you shouldn’t believe about yourself, your kids, or your teenagers in regards to mental wellness.   Stephen Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People said, “begin with the end in mind.” As a parent, you have to begin with the end in mind. Ultimately,  your job is to release your child, the one that God has entrusted to you, out into the world. Your job isn’t to make sure that they don’t ever struggle with their mental health. Your job is to help your child see how they cannot just survive but thrive in the midst of mental health journeys. And Goby exists to swim upstream right alongside you.