Youth Mental Health: Be Aware and Care
Are you or is someone you know in crisis? Or do you have concerns, and you’re not sure what to do? On-call/after-hours/emergency support is available through Brookings Behavioral Health & Wellness, even if you just have questions about a situation. Call 605-697-2850 any time for guidance or next steps.
“I’ve heard about the mental health crisis among youth in Brookings.
I want to help, but I don’t know how. What can I do?”
- Volunteer as a mentor through the Brookings County Youth Mentoring Program. BCYMP provides training and pairs you with a youth in the community who wants to connect with a caring adult. Your commitment is one hour per week with your mentee throughout the school year. This is a meaningful, evidence-supported way to be a positive impact and develop protective factors in the life of a young person in our community. Find more information at bcymentoring.org.
- Volunteer with KidsPoint or GracePoint Student Ministries. Our Family Ministry team works with our own students to make sure they feel loved and cared about here at church—helping equip them to be loving, caring people for their peers, at school and out in the community! There are ALWAYS many different ways to get involved on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings, plus several special events throughout the year. Building healthy relationships that spill over into the world around us? That’s one of the most important ways we can support our community!
- Attend activities at the school. Students surveyed in our Brookings schools have expressed that they don’t feel important to their community. Only 15% of BHS students say they feel valued. That’s heartbreaking—and we can change that! Throw on a red shirt and head to a football game, attend a choir/band concert, or take in a theatre performance. Check for events happening at the schools and show up for our kids! Let’s make it a habit to support them in their activities and value the work they put in.
- Substitute teach at the school. It might sound scary, but it’s not! (You might be surprised how easy the qualifications are.) Teachers are struggling to take sick days or personal leave to care for themselves, due to the critical shortage of substitute teachers. If you're at all available, check out the Brookings School District jobs page.
- Educate yourself about the struggles of individuals and families who deal with challenges to mental health, especially in a Christ-centered context. There are a ton of books out there that provide insight into what it’s like to struggle with depression, anxiety, addiction, or trauma, and many of them are written by Christian authors or professionals who consider these issues (and our response, as Christians) through the healing lens of the gospel. For book recommendations, contact Pastor Serenity at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Help keep our kids safe by becoming a part of a family’s safety plan, as we partner with our local Child Protective Services. This is a brand-new program in Brookings, and GracePoint has been invited to help kick it off! The intent is to connect volunteers in our church family with local families in need of community support. This is an open door to offer loving care in the form of in-home visits and regular check-ins (DSS training will be provided), to walk alongside parents and children who are in the process of making positive changes toward safety in the home. If you’d like to receive updates about how you can learn more, contact Pastor Serenity at email@example.com.
- Pursue training to be equipped with practical skills and awareness that will help you recognize and respond to mental health risks among the people around you. Community-wide, our licensed counseling professionals and facilities are overwhelmed by their caseloads. It takes a community to care for our community! Many training opportunities (usually free!) are offered throughout the year to help laypersons know how to listen, assess risk, and walk with people who are hurting. Consider getting trained in suicide prevention or mental health first aid--check the Helpline Center for upcoming dates or to request a training.