On 12 August, the World Council of Churches (WCC) will celebrate Ecumenical International Youth Day with the theme “Young People and Mental Health.” A worship celebration with expert speakers, music, prayer and Bible studies is being planned, and a “toolkit” is being released before the event to help WCC member churches provide a safe space for youth to strengthen their mental health.
“Did you know that one-fifth of teenagers worldwide suffer from mental health conditions that are untreated and undiagnosed?” asked Joy Eva Bohol, WCC programme executive for Youth Engagement. “And mental health issues are increasing among adolescents and young adults.”
Churches can help, and the WCC is providing a toolkit to guide congregations and families in celebrating Ecumenical International Youth Day in the best way they can. From background information, to a suggested programme, from liturgy to workshops, the toolkit is adaptable in different countries and contexts.
Areas of deep concern to young people—including industrialization, intergenerational conflict, modern living, COVID-19, the climate emergency, cultural expectations, and migration—will be emphasized and explored.
Young people can be leaders within the ecumenical movement when it comes to promoting good mental health—and discussing it without stigma, noted Bohol. “We are looking ahead to gathering a diverse array of participants, and drawing them closer together with a sense of spiritual solidarity and accurate information.”
The WCC is also inviting participation and submission of materials—including video greetings, photos, songs, and dances—for an online event to be held on 12 August. The deadline is 30 June, and interested parties can contact firstname.lastname@example.org