There is still time to sign up for $35 (or $25 for students) by March 22 to attend Walking Alongside: Youth and Mental Health. Gather with clergy, youth leaders, teachers, parents, disability advocates, and other supporters to learn, ask questions, encourage one another and praise God together. The conference will be held at on April 27 at Westdale Reformed Church in Hamilton, ON.
On the day of Pentecost, Peter spoke to the people with the words of Joel, saying in part, “Your sons and daughters shall prophecy. Your young (men) shall see visions.” (Acts 2:17). As a church, as the Body of Christ in God’s world, we are called to create space for young people to share their faith and shape our communities. And yet, a significant portion of youth struggle with depression, anxiety, and for some, suicidal thoughts, that keeps them from recognizing themselves as beloved children of God.
We hope Walking Alongside: Youth and Mental Health will offer tools for recognizing signs of mental distress and offering practical ways for strengthening and encouraging youth in community, reminding them that they are needed in our Body of Christ. Four workshops will be offered (see brief descriptions below) as well as a keynote address given by Stephen Doucet Campbell. People are invited to choose two workshops and will have the opportunity to hear from all four presenters on a closing panel.
Workshops (full descriptions can be seen on the registration page)
- Youth and Addiction: The word “addiction” is typically associated with stigma and moral failure, however, these only serve to increase the secrecy and shame surrounding it. Addiction will be discussed on a brain level, psychological level and social level to begin to understand why these complex patterns occur, how they can be avoided, and ways of breaking the cycle. (Stephen Doucet Campbell)
- Youth and Social Media: Understanding how culture has developed and changed over the last century will create understanding and context for the current generation. This presentation will cover the role that social media has had with respect to the current spike in anxiety and depression. (Kevin Hoogstad)
- Youth and Suicide: This workshop will offer greater awareness of suicide among youth, signs to watch for, when to refer, and other resources. This time will help prepare for difficult but important conversations walking alongside youth. (Speaker to be determined)
- Youth and Depression: This workshop will offer strategies and theological reflection regarding walking with youth who are living with depression. (Scott Page)
Keynote: “Upheaval, Support, and Hope”
In pop culture, adolescence is glamourized and celebrated, but the reality is that it’s often a time of great transition, change and upheaval. While mental health awareness has never been more talked about, recent studies continue to indicate that one in five youth are currently experiencing a diagnosable mental health concern. Youth mental health can feel like an overwhelming subject requiring specialized knowledge to navigate, however, there are practical ways church and parachurch programs can intentionally support, strengthen and encourage youth to endure and thrive.
Stephen Doucet Campbell is a psychotherapist working with Shalem Mental Health Network. Originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba, he completed a BA in psychology at the University of Winnipeg before receiving his MA in Counselling Psychology from Providence Theological Seminary. He worked with youth and families for several years before moving to Ontario in 2013, working in an adult out-patient addiction program in St Catharines. He joined Shalem in 2017. He has worked in a variety of settings including schools, hospitals, health centres, correctional services, child and family services, and counselling centres.
Kevin Hoogstad is a registered marriage and family therapist and is a member of the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO). He has been working in the counselling field for almost 10 years, seeing children, teens, and adults. He uses these opportunities to help create hope for the hurting and helps clients with their spiritual, relational, and mental health. Kevin works as a therapist at a number of different locations, including a Student Emotional Support program at a high school in Hamilton, and Christian Counselling Centre in Burlington.
Scott Page serves as a director for Wesley, a social service agency in downtown Hamilton, and works as a therapist in private practice with the Valley Centre for Counselling. At Wesley, he provided therapy for individuals to establish a new normal after the traumas of refugee resettlement. Scott was previously employed by several hospitals as chaplain and helped individuals find their strength to address mental illness while also coping with the compounding challenges of poverty. He has training in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy, Narrative Therapy and Brief Solution Focused Therapy.
Regular registration fee is $50. Sign up by March 22 and pay only $35. Student rate is $25.
More details and registration information below. We encourage you to help spread the word! This conference is sponsored by Christian Reformed and Reformed Church in America Disability Concerns ministries. For more information, please contact Miriam Spies at [email protected].