On Saturday, 30th March 2019, I led a training day for the South West Baptist Association on “Mental Health & Young People”. This included:
- An opening 1 hour session introducing the topic and discussing how we get the culture towards mental health right in our churches. We also looked at stress and anxiety, their impact, and how to help young people manage them.
- A 45 minute seminar on the impact of childhood trauma and how to support young people with that past well.
- A 45 minute seminar on positive mental health exploring using “character strengths” to help our young people develop the traits necessary to have good well-being and be successful at dealing with what life throws at them.
- A closing 1 hour session exploring how to develop our churches into safe spaces, helpful resources, the importance of good listening skills, and some top tips in relation to anxiety, panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, eating disorders, psychosis, and self-harm.
Around 70 people attended the event in Exeter, Devon. I asked for those there to fill out a feedback form on the training I provided, and 29 people did so. In four different areas they ranked me from 1 (awful) to 6 (excellent). Here are the average scores from their reviews:
- Session Content – 5.59
- Session Delivery – 5.66
- Interaction Level – 4.38
- Use of Media – 5.24
Here are a few quotes from the day:
“I’ve learnt not to feel so inadequate around people with M.H. issues. You’ve given us so many tools & strategies & they’re all really creative & fun. I can’t wait to use them! This training is a must. Everyone should do it. We need to be so much more aware as a society and not just leave all these issues up to the “experts” to sort out. We can all become semi-experts / helpful friends”
“An encouraging and inspiring day to help us go out better equipped and informed to help young people with their mental health.”
“I really enjoyed Matt’s intro session. I came in with the question ‘What does positive mental health look like?’ & this was answered.”
“Really thorough training, you know what you’re talking about and I’m so glad I could be here today!”
“Matt recently led a ‘Mental Health & Young People’ Study day for over 70 people, many from amongst our family of churches in the South West Baptist Association. The teaching hit exactly the right balance between presenting medical information and practical application to the lives of those in our churches and communities. Matt’s style is both knowledgeable and accessible which was hugely appreciated by those who attended the day. It is my pleasure to commend Matt as a tutor in Mental Health, particularly within the specialist area of younger people and churches.” – from Carl Smethurst, Regional Minister – Mission, South West Baptist Association