VIDEO: All Signs Point To?
Identifying Teens Prior to Crisis

Identifying Teens Prior to Crisis - Emily Edwards

In this video, Emily Edwards presents All Signs Point To? – Identifying Teens Prior to Crisis. Emily currently serves as the Director of Youth and Education Ministries at Coronado Community UMC and has worked in student ministry for nine years. Emily also works with individuals (ages 6 and older), couples, and families as a therapist (Registered Clinical Social Work Intern #ISW9255) at New Smyrna Beach Counseling Center.

This presentation took place at the Flagler Forum on Youth Ministry at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida.

Excerpts:

At Risk

“At risk youth is someone who is less likely to transition successfully into adulthood.”

“‘Successfully’ is often defined as able to avoid crime, achieve academic success, and become financially independent.”

“So what teens are at risk for crisis? …Really all teens have the potential to be at risk for crisis.”

Teen Statistics in 2 Hours

Recognize

How do we recognize these at risk teenagers before they hit crisis?

  • Make passive suicidal statements (“The world would be better off without me.”)
  • Begin to isolate self from family & friends
  • Display sudden change (appearance, mood, attendance, interests, etc.)
  • Usually ask for help from a friend
  • Engage in high-risk behavior

“So what teens are at risk for crisis? …Really all teens have the potential to be at risk for crisis.”

“Your friend may be mad at your for telling… but your friend is going to be alive to be mad at you.”

“Our unique benefit of being youth workers is that we have no punishing rights… but we can sit there and have very open and honest communication (with them).”

High Risk Behaviors

  • Truancy
  • Substance use/abuse
  • Unprotected sex or sex with multiple or unknown partners
  • Restricting eating/binging and purging
  • Self harm
  • Fighting
  • Running away

“Our unique benefit of being youth workers is that we have no punishing rights… but we can sit there and have very open and honest communication (with them).”

Our Role

Our Role as Youth Minister is NOT:

  • Savior
  • Parent
  • Professional Counselor

Our Role as Youth Minister IS:

  • Building relationships
    • Recognizing red flags of teens approaching crisis
  • Training and equipping volunteers
    • Involve other safe adults in the ministry as mentors/sponsors/prayer partners
  • Utilizing teens’ strength and spiritual gifts
    • Student leadership
  • Talking openly about hard issues
    • Feelings of isolation come when difficult topics are not discussed
  • Having open door with non-judgement
    • Listen and validate

Our Role as the Church

  • Consistently point teens and their families to a transforming relationship with Jesus
    • Mark 12:30-31 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.
  • Provide meaningful connections to God
  • Provide safe sanctuary for all teens
  • Support Parents/Guardians
  • Provide resources or connections to resources
    • Develop a local resources list to assist with prevention of crisis

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