How might synagogues and Jewish communities respond to the needs of teens to express their inner turmoil and to learn new techniques for managing stress and emotional exhaustion?
The Parent-Teen Mental Health and Wellness Summit realized a dream: to transform our synagogue, Congregation Or Ami (Calabasas), into a truly safe place for teens, their unique emotional journeys, and the parents who love but are unsure of how to protect them.
Why did Congregation Or Ami focus our energies on creating a mental health and wellness retreat? Because today's teens are particularly stressed out, overwhelmed by anxiety, buffetted by the emotional turmoil engendered by social media. They crave support and relief.
It is time for us to lift the veil of silence around mental illness, talking about it and our mental health journeys. Especially in the Jewish community.
A mother speaks about her appreciation that the Congregation Or Ami and its rabbis offered deep support for their daughter on her battle with depression.
Teen Dani, an 11th grader, shared her mental health journey (through depression) to an overflowing synagogue on Yom Kippur.