Dawn Savidge – Diocese of Leeds
I lay listening to the sobs of my son as I have done every night for months now. Nothing I do or say can take away his pain; the pain of the turmoil that he is currently in and the anxiety that keeps us both awake night after night. All I can do is hug him and pray.
Mental health is a huge topic of conversation at the moment. During this Christmas period we lost two young girls to suicide in the Halifax area. The latest mental health report shows an increase in mental health disorders among 5–19 year olds with 1 in 8 having a mental disorder. The highest category is emotional, and in particular, anxiety which is more common than depression. The report highlighted facts that we perhaps already know. Having low levels of social support, small social networks, not participating in clubs or organisations and high usage of social media are all linked to mental health disorders. Then there are all the increased risky health behaviours that are associated with mental disorders, such as alcohol, drugs, smoking, self-harm and suicide. What creates these conditions? Increased use of social media; pressure on young people in schools; family dynamics; environment. There could be so many reasons that mental disorders are increasingly an issue for our young people.
I often think about David in the Bible. I love reading the Psalms. David was so honest about his journey, both pain and joy. David knew that God was with him always, even in his darkest moments. In Psalm 139 he writes, ‘I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!….your hand will guide me and you strength will support me. I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night – but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.’ I wonder how many young people today know that same God. The Higher Tour gives young people a chance to meet David’s God who is also their God. It creates a moment for young people to make a commitment to know who Jesus is. God will walk with them in times of triumph and hold them in the deepest darkest caves of depression and anxiety. I am so grateful that my son has a relationship with Jesus and I am so excited that we have the potential in Yorkshire to introduce 1000s of young people to Jesus. Will you join us in praying for the Higher Tour and the young people in Yorkshire?
Thank you so much for your promise to never leave us. Thank you that you are with us in the highs and lows of life. Lord, as the Higher Tour makes their preparations for March 2019, prepare the hearts of the young people to receive you. Lord we pray for those young people who are suffering with mental illness to know that you walk with them. Amen.
The Higher Yorkshire team are hosting five prayer events in the next two weeks and we’d love it if you came to the event nearest you. For more information contact email@example.com
9 January – Doncaster Higher Prayer Night – Powerhouse, DN1 2HG – 7:30pm – 9pm
10 January – Sheffield Higher Prayer Night – All Saints Ecclesall, S11 7PP – 7:30pm
16 January – Leeds & Bradford Higher Launch – Pudsey Parish Church, LS28 8BE – 7:30pm – 9:15pm
17 January – Wakefield Higher Prayer Night – New Life Church, WF1 1DL – 7:30pm – 9pm