The Northeastern Minnesota Synod Mental Health Discussion Guide Kits are tools to help start mental health conversations with youth and adults in your congregation. They are not therapy, and they are not a therapeutic tool. They are an education tool to introduce topics surrounding mental health in order to build trust and community so stigma surrounding mental health conditions can be broken down. Through scripture and rituals youth have the opportunity to share, listen, learn and hear a message of hope, love and God's presence with them no matter what they are experiencing.
Before You Begin
Overview: It is expected facilitators read through the Overview before leading these sessions.
Discussion Guide Kit Supplies and Set Up Discussion Guide Kits were given to each NE MN Synod Congregation at the 2019 NE MN Synod Assembly. If you would like to create your own, you can purchase items at the links below or local stores.
Links in PDF's are active, even though they are not highlighted.
Complete Discussion Guides: Complete Discussion Guide Includes Overview and all six sessions. Individual Sessions: Overview It is expected facilitators read through the Overview before leading these sessions.
Read through the Overview document before each session.
Build a team! Youth need a community of adults to surround them, especially when we begin conversations on mental health. Different voices come with different experiences and skills. Consider having a mental health professional as part of this team to be present as needed to support you as a facilitator and help refer participants as needed.
Even though these are not therapy or support group sessions, topics can trigger unexpected emotions and responses - for participants and facilitators. It is helpful to have additional adult leaders present and ready to either step in to lead or to step out of the group with a participant if needed.
Remember your role! These sessions are not therapy, therapeutic tools, or support groups - they are educational tools to give space for conversations on mental health topics for understanding, to decrease stigma, and to provide tools and resources for participants. In the course of the discussion, if a participant appears to need more help it is your job to refer the participant to a professional.
Confidentiality in a group setting is the shared responsibility of group members and cannot be guaranteed. Remind participants to not disclose identifying details about another person's mental health condition, that personal stories shared in the group stay confidential, and that you may need to break confidentiality if someone speaks about harming themselves or others.
Learn about your local resources! Talk to the schools, hospitals, mental health providers or others to know what resources are available locally for youth and families to utilize when needed.
Funding for the NE MN Synod Mental Health Discussion Guides and Kits was provided through a generous grant from the Disability Ministries, made possible through Always Being Made New: The Campaign for the ELCA. Permission is given to use these materials in your local context as long as no profit is made from its use. Proper credit must be give to all sources.
Disclaimer: The NE MN Synod Youth Ministry & Mental Health Initiative Discussion Guides, Workshops, Podcasts and other resources are informative resource materials. They are intended as a first step for some very important discussions. Mental health is a complex field. The information provided here is not complete and does not cover all issues related to mental health. These materials should never replace the advice of a skilled mental health professional informed by detailed and specific discussions. Over time, website links and articles may become outdated as new research and theories emerge. Always seek the advice of a mental health professional or other qualified health provider for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment if you suspect you or someone you know has a mental illness or mental health condition. If you, or someone you know, are in crisis, please call 911 immediately. If you are having suicidal or injurious thoughts, call 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) to talk with a trained counselor.