Supporting children with anxiety and depression

Today we have a guest blog from the Priory Group who have just released some new resources for those supporting children and young people with anxiety and depression. Information is provided by Dr Hayley van Zwanenberg.

Anxiety and depression can be difficult for anyone to experience. But for children and teenagers, they can feel even more overwhelming and unconquerable. 

One in eight children live with a mental health disorder, says NHS Digital. When a child or teenager has a condition such as anxiety or depression, it can seriously affect their health and wellbeing. They aren’t pleasant illnesses and can be incredibly confusing for a child to experience, who may not understand what they are feeling or why they are feeling a certain way. 

When a child is dealing with anxiety or depression, they may try to put on a brave face to cover up their emotions and hide how they feel from others. They may also choose to keep their thoughts and feelings to themselves, as a result of being too scared or embarrassed about what they are going through. This can stop them from reaching out for the help and support that they need to get better.

It is valuable for those looking after children and teenagers to be able to recognise the signs and symptoms of anxiety and depression so that they can take steps to support the child. 

Teenage depression and childhood anxiety guides 

Priory Group has put together guides on childhood anxietyand teenage depressioncontaining valuable advice and information on the mental health conditions. 

These guides are useful for parents, carers and guardians. They outline the signs and symptoms of anxiety and depression, and recommend effective support and treatment. 

The guides also recommend ways to talk to a child about their thoughts and feelings. Having conversations on the topic of mental health, what it is and how it can be treated can be incredibly valuable. These discussions can remove any stigma surrounding mental health and can help children to recognise that it’s ok to open up about their thoughts and feelings.

For children and teenagers who are experiencing mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression, it is important that they get access to treatment as early as possible so that they can manage their condition, and recover in the long term. These guides outline the treatment and therapies that can be provided at places like the Priory, which can help a child to make positive changes and learn strategies to help them stay well in the future. 

We made an app! – 100 Questions – Youth

I’m really excited to announce that Youth Work Resource has created an iOS app!

100 Questions is available now on the Apple App store and is a simple to use app containing 100 questions for use with young people.

The questions cover a range of topics including:

  • Getting to know each other
  • Hopes and dreams
  • Beliefs
  • Social justice

To use the app you simply download it from the iOS App store, open it up and you’re presented with one of the questions. To move onto the next question you tap the button at the base of the screen or shake your device. The 100 questions are displayed in a random order.

There’s a few ideas on how you could use the app over on the app’s webpage here.

Get 100 Questions on the app store today!

Whilst we usually try and make our resources free this one has a small charge because making apps and getting them onto the app store isn’t cheap however it’s cheaper than many resources out there and will only set you back £1.99 (or just 99p until the end of August!)

Disrespect Nobody Campaign & Resources

Disrespect Nobody

The Home Office have a campaign called ‘Disrespect Nobody’ which focuses around sexting, healthy relationships, consent, rape and porn.

This resource has a website full of information which could help you put together a session (or more!). In addition to this you can also find some discussion guides from the PSHE association which includes some lesson plans. Whilst these lesson plans have been designed for school use you could easily adapt them for your youth group. These 3 lesson plans cover: relationship abuse, consent and sexting.

Click here for the Disrespect Nobody Website

Click here for the Addition Resources

Resource Review – Kleer Series

Kleer SeriesEarlier this month a new video series primarily aimed at 14-18 year olds (although it could work with younger ages) was launched. Kleer series is a new series of videos aimed at engaging young people with issues of faith in a culturally relevant way.

The resource website states ‘Are you looking to help young people explore their spirituality, identity, purpose and faith?’ which provides a good overview for the resource (you can also download 4 to evaluate from their website)

Here at Youth Work Resource I was able to download the first season to let you know my verdict and where to pick up the series. So here are my thoughts…

The concept of a youth group video series isn’t new…11 years ago Rob Bell launched his Nooma series (which I still love) and in recent years as producing good quality video has become more do-able we’ve seen the Youth Alpha Film Series, Deep and various others.

Whereas many of these assume some kind of spiritual knowledge from young people the Kleer series doesn’t, making it almost a pre-alpha resource. This means that it gives you a fantastic way to begin discussing spiritual issues and the big questions of life with young people in an engaging way.

The format of each video is largely similar. The 6 minute videos tend to contain an introduction, some kind of testimony or anecdote/visual, a conclusion of sorts and 3 conversation starters for you to use with your group. The videos have a variety of presenters (all-be-them mostly male) who are engaging and challenging to listen to.

In series 1 we see issues such as celebrity culture, spiritual journey’s, creation and personal reflection tackled amongst other issues which will be relevant to the young people you work with.

As a youth worker who has previously struggled to find ways to begin those conversations of faith with young people I think Kleer is a fantastic new resource and certainly one worth picking up. It’s well produced, just about the right length and provides questions to follow up the video with young people. It could be ideal as part of a lunchtime club, God-slot or could even work in an RS lesson.

Plus at £20 for 24 videos it’s also a pretty good deal!

Verdict: So what’s the verdict? – Kleer fills a gap that has been needed to fill when it comes to youth ministry resources, it’s put together well and has some really thought provoking questions…it would have been nice to see a more balanced ratio of male to female presenters though!

Where to get it – Kleer can be purchased from their website and also comes as part of YFC’s new ‘Frames’ resource for 11-18’s.



Book – Handmade By God – Heidi Shirra

A while back Heidi, a friend of mine asked me to read some extracts from her book ‘Handmade by God’ and write something to appear on the back cover.

The book came out at the beginning of June and earlier this month I attended the book launch too.

Handmade by God is perhaps more of a booklet in size but that doesn’t make it any less of a worthwhile resource (just shorter). Handmade by God is really in 2 parts.

The first part tells Heidi’s story of being a fairly typical (Christian) young person, growing up in a Christian family, attending youth groups, finishing sixth form and heading off to university but during that first year Heidi became more and more obsessed with weight loss and began eating less and less until it emerged she had developed anorexia and a distorted view of her own body image.

In that time following her diagnoses and having to work hard at putting back on weight and getting out of bad eating habits Heidi read bible passages that helped her and made notes of them which is where part 2 comes in!

The second part of the book consists of 52 short bible passages and a brief thought on them directed at how we view ourselves followed by a space to write your own thoughts, feelings and prayers associated with these verses.

As a youth worker I think this book has huge potential to be used in youth group settings with the older end of young people (14+) but also on an individual basis for people of all ages (perhaps more so females than males). The verses could help put together a session on self esteem or you could use one of the two self esteem sessions I’ve previous written over on (Links: Session 1Session 2).

If you’re interested here’s what I actually said about the book on the back cover…

 “Heidi’s story isn’t dissimilar from the increasing number of young people who are developing eating disorders in order to conform to the unrealistic expectations that society presents to them.

In this book Heidi shares her own story and a selection of bible passages that teach us some essential truths about how God feels about us and how we often need to face up to the lies society tells us and come back to our loving Father who accepts us, welcomes and calls us just as we are.

I hope that people reading this book will realise that ultimate satisfaction in who we are comes from accepting that God, our creator, has made us who we are and that our self-esteem and self-worth need to be rooted in Him.”

Purchase Links: Amazon Physical Book | Amazon Kindle | Gilead Books | Eden

Bridges – Making Global Connections

Earlier this week we added a new link under our youth work resources section to some resources from Bridges all about global issues.

Today we bring you a special guest blog from Nina Davies. Nina Davies is Bridges Community Officer working with youth and community groups. You can get in touch on 01952 255526, e-mail or visit

Here’s the blog

Martin Luther King Jr once said “before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you’ve depended on more than half the world.”

The truth in this seems to grow every day as we wake-up in sheets made from cotton grown in India, breakfast on cereal made from maize grown in the USA and rely on mobile phones made in China from minerals mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The charity I work for, Bridges, aims to support young people, and the adults that work with them, to think about and discuss these complex issues and explore the things they can do to make the world a little bit fairer for everyone.

We’ve recently created several new resources that we hope will inspire and support you in exploring global issues with the young people you work with.

Our Get Started Guides are a series of short activity guides to help you and your group get started (clue’s in the name!) with global learning. Topics include:

  • Make a Global Connection – spot the connections in our everyday lives
  • Fairtrade Cocoa & Chocolate – almost everyone’s favourite topic
  • Fairtrade Cotton & Clothes – who makes the clothes we love to shop for
  • Human Rights – understanding the global rights that protect us all
  • Waste & Recycling – get creative with “rubbish” and throw a bit less away
  • Taking Action for a Fairer World – linking learning to action, there is lots you can do

Heroines and Heroes – explores gender equality with links to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It was written in partnership with Girlguiding Shropshire and would be easily adapted for use by any youth group.

If you need a hand, here are a few top tips on learning and action on global issues:

  • Don’t try to find the “right” answer – learning about global issues is complicated and there are lots of different points of view. If your group can listen to each other and explore different perspectives then you have made an excellent start!
  • Find similarities as well as differences – it’s easy to focus on the differences when we are learning about the lives of people in other countries but, there are lots of similarities too.
  • Link learning to action – sometimes we can all feel overwhelmed and dis-hearted by the many inequalities in our world. Enable your group to fundraise, campaign or spread the message in their local community and help them feel empowered to make a difference to an issue they care about.

Please visit the Bridges website for free resource downloads at:

Finally, a quick question – what is the number one global issue young people (and adults too!) should be learning about today?

 Please leave a comment on this blog to share your thoughts or, help me in my current efforts to learn how to use Twitter, and Tweet to @NinaJDavies – Thanks!

About Bridges 

Bridges promotes knowledge and learning for a fairer world. Our vision is a world where all people are respected, learn together and are able to take action.

We deliver activities across Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin and aim to share what we do, and learn from others, as widely as possible.

Special thanks from youth work resource to Nina for writing this blog.

YCML – Next Week!

If you’re a UK based youth worker then you have to check out the YCML events happening.

YCML is a day of theme-based lectures taking place in London on the 15th March and Leeds on the 16th and this year the theme is ‘Image’ with lecturers Dr Crispin Fletcher-Louis, Nigel Pimlott and Rachel Gardner.

Last year’s ‘Gender’ day of lectures was a fantastic opportunity to explore the idea of gender both theologically and from a youth work perspective.

YCML is a awesome opportunity to deepen your thinking and really get stuck into a topic without having to be committed to a course or find yourself having to write an essay about it after!

You can book into either of the YCML days by clicking here