Mental Health for Children
There is a preponderance of mental health topics in the news. Mental wellness issues are ink-linked with school shootings, gender confusion, drug crimes, marital unease, unemployment, homelessness, and more. Secular conclusions would have us believe that in these scenarios, lack of mental health counseling plays the leading role. Does the Bible speak directly about mental illness? How does the Christian parent dissect popular cultural views and provide for their child’s mental health without compromising their Christian beliefs?
This year a bill was introduced in the State of Colorado that would “allow public schools to participate in a voluntary mental health screening program for sixth through twelfth graders and refer them to treatment as needed.”[i] The bill passed through the Colorado House and Senate. This program would expose targeted vulnerable children to counseling. In Colorado all licensed counselors are required to affirm any gender dysphoria in children and cannot discuss any other options for this fast growing mental health issue.
Additionally, counselors are subject to The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The industry of mental health abides by the manual which rarely addresses moral issues. Whatever the manual says is what the professionals follow. “When these professionals all get together and decide that being transgender or wanting a sex change is not an illness, but rather acceptable, then the way they approach it changes. The Christian counselor holds and abides by fundamental truths laid out in scripture and employs these principles into their therapy practice”[ii] The secular therapy primarily is based on the premise that life is “me-centered”. Conversely, Christian counseling is based on the living of a “God- centered” life.
Helping children recognize and accept that they are wonderfully and specially made by God is a good place to start with introducing health in general. Every child compares and considers those around them as they measure their worth. That is why it is important to introduce God’s perfect plan in the early years. The scriptures teach us that we have a spirit, soul, and body. “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” -I Thessalonians 5:23
Protecting the spirit of our children is as important as protecting the body. Romans 8:16 tells us that God’s spirit testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Our children’s spirits should be protected from the counsel of the ungodly. Be alert to the teachings in the school and listen for any underlying agenda to steal your child’s alliances.
Focus on the Family’s article on mental health for children, offers five suggestions to Christian parents as they guide their children to a healthy spirit. Allow children to acknowledge that it is ok to not be ok at this moment. Provide a holistic view of health (body, soul, spirit). Allow trusted adults other than parents to be listeners to children’s issues. Seek God’s guidance and help your child understand that this issue of mental health is only a part of their whole story.[iii]
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[i]https://coloradonewsline.com/briefs/colorado-students-could-receive-annual-mental-health-screenings-under-democratic-bill/#:~:text=House%20Bill%2023%2D1003%20would,youth%20therapy%20I%20Matter%20program. [ii]https://thecenter4hopeandhealing.com/the-real-difference-between-a-christian-counselor-and-a-secular-counselor/ [iii]https://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/mental-health-awareness/