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Christian perspectives on mental health at education conference

February 2020 | by Mike Rideout

Prof. Alan Thomas
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In recent years mental health has become a high-profile issue, especially among young people.

Thanks to the pervasive presence of social media, the youth of today are under unrelenting pressure to conform and to be ‘liked’. Additionally, the absence of moral absolutes and the prominence of the LGBT+ agenda have compounded confusion in the minds of many teens.

An erosion of the sense of one’s worth, purpose and direction has followed, often with tragic consequences. Recent coverage of teen suicides and the high rate of self-harm among teenage girls bear witness to this. Young people today are reportedly more anxious than ever before.

This formed the dark backdrop to Christian Values in Education’s national conference, entitled ‘Mind Matters’.

CViE is a charity raising awareness among believers of issues faced by those involved in education. The conference was held in Luton in late 2019 and about 300 people of all ages were in attendance — a record number.

Alan Thomas, a consultant psychiatrist and professor, spoke on ‘Mental health: a Christian perspective’. Nick Pollard (of Family Mental Wealth) spoke on ‘Mental health: a parent’s journey’.

A variety of sessions were also provided for children and teens, including ‘Stewardship’; ‘God’s purpose for marriage’; ‘Relationships and the Bible’; ‘God’s wonderful creation’; and ‘Watch what you say’.

On display were resources from CViE, Christian Bookshop Ossett, Gospel Standard Trust Publications, Lovewise, Valley School and Truth in Science.

The annual conference is central to CViE’s activities. Once again, it was greatly encouraging to meet like-minded believers facing the difficult issues of our day. The conference helped equip us to maintain our witness and faithfulness to the Scriptures.

Next year’s conference is scheduled for Saturday 26 September 2020 in the Reigate area — further details can be found at www.cvie.org.uk.

Mike Rideout