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World News

Christian charity points to ongoing stigma of seeking mental health support among Christians, amid study confirming youth mental health crisis

by Lydia Davies

A recent study by the Resolution Foundation has shed light on a concerning trend: More individuals in their early twenties face unemployment due to health issues than those in their early forties.

According to the report, young people now have the poorest mental health of any age group, which is a reversal from two decades ago when they had the lowest incidence of common mental disorders.

"People in their early 20s are more likely to be not working due to ill health than those in their early 40s," the report states.

In an interview with Premier, Arianna Walker, the CEO of Christian mental health charity' Mercy UK' recognised how some Christians have a hard time coming forward to talk about their mental health.

“There is still a stigma attached for Christians to have the courage to say actually, I believe in prayer, I go to church, I do believe that God can heal me…however, I also do need professional help.”

She believes that churches have a pivotal part to play in supporting their congregation with their mental health needs. "The Church has a big part to play to be more informed, to become safe places and become supportive…[it's important for] churches to become that place".

The report also revealed concerning gender disparities, with young women disproportionately affected by poor mental health compared to their male counterparts. "Young women fare worse," the study found, "and are one-and-a-half times more likely to experience poor mental health as young men."

Walker questioned the report's findings that young women are more affected than me. "Are women just…more able to say what is difficult for them? We are finding that men too are really struggling of any age.

"This is a mental health crisis… I think focussing on just one age group makes us think 'oh there's just a problem there' but actually it is a problem right across the population".

In response to these alarming findings, the Resolution Foundation and the Health Foundation have called for urgent action. They are advocating for better mental health support in educational institutions, particularly colleges and sixth forms, to address the root causes of this crisis.

"While the study draws attention to a troubling reality, it also underscores the importance of prioritising mental health initiatives and support systems, not only for individual well-being but also for broader societal and economic prosperity," the report concludes.



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