Breaking the Silence

On Saturday 1 February around 200 people gathered in Assembly Buildings to “break the silence” on adolescent mental health.

“Breaking the Silence” was the result of speeches that two young females made at the Presbyterian General Assembly in June 2013. They spoke about the rise in mental health issues that teenagers and young adults are facing, the personal experiences they have faced with their friends and asked the church to respond to this crucial issue. As a result of this, a resolution was passed to work with the SPUD Youth Assembly on a project to engage the church with these issues – the conference was part one of this project.

 

The Moderator: Rev Dr Rob Craig opened the conference and reminded delegates that the church needs to “break the silence” on the issues that affect us. He encouraged delegates to “be Christ” to the young people in their care, to give them a listening ear and share their time with them.

Dr Davidson’s address provided the delegates with a solid picture of adolescent mental health in Northern Ireland at the present time. He provided examples of what the statistics look like in reality and highlighted the challenges that we are facing with regards to the future of mental health.

Dr Yeow then challenged the delegates about how the church should be responding to these issues and how they become mental health friendly places that support teenagers and walk alongside them as a loving community.

And crucially Professor McBride reminded the delegates about the importance of taking what they have been challenged about and what they have learned and use it in their local context.

 

Keep up to date with the SPUD Youth Assembly at: www.pciyac.org/spud and the Board of Social Witness on: www.pcibsw.org

Check out the audio recordings of the conference speakers here.