Christian educators combat mental health problems by teaching students to build resilience


Christian Life

Kathryn Idema, CNE.news

One of the earlier conferences organised by EurECA. Photo Honza Kuklinek

Jesus declared He had come for people to enjoy the fulness of life, but in today’s European classroom, suicide and mental health disorders are on the rise.

According to a recent UNICEF report, suicide remains the second leading cause of death among today’s youth, and at least 9 million Europeans who are 10-19 years old have at least one mental health disorder.

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Honza Kuklinek. Photo Honza Kuklinek

Honza Kuklinek hopes to reverse this trend by equipping the next generation of Christian educators during a conference for educators from Europe with the theme “Building Resilience”. Kuklinek is a board member of the European Educators’ Christian Association (EurECA).

EurECA is an affiliate member of the European Evangelical Alliance (EEA).

Kuklinek says in an interview with CNE that the workshops during the conference include therapists, psychologists, and a professor of pedagogy, talking about current challenges as well as discussing ways of how educators can help students and themselves overcome adverse circumstances. He also points out that participants will learn how to cultivate a culture of prayer by bringing “prayer spaces” in their schools.

Education conference in Czechia

Since 1992, EurECA has held conferences ever year in May for Christian teachers based in various European countries. According to Kuklinek, the conferences are getting more diverse. This year, they are welcoming 115 educators from 18 different nations. This year’s conference will be held in Czechia and includes several teaching sessions spread out over a long weekend (May 9-12). The theme “Building Resilience” aims to provide educators with spiritual tools in the midst of a mental health crisis among students.

“We need to equip and help educators. We would like to help bring God’s love and truth by being His representatives in our schools,” Kuklinek says in the CNE interview.

Generation Alpha

This year’s theme, “Building resilience,” came out of the need to address the current spike in mental health disorders among Generation Alpha (born between 2010-2024) and the current conflict in Ukraine. Kuklinek says that it is important to have good resources for our mental health. When teachers have the proper tools, they can become more effective in their work for God, he stresses.

While it may be difficult for teachers to bring up God in the classroom, Kuklinek states that the importance of influence can be even more powerful. Even when teachers are not actively talking about God, the conversation can begin by discussing the importance of a life mission. He also says that when students are given a safe place to talk about their problems, it can open up the door to experience inner healing and God’s love in their lives. “Our biggest need is having a purpose in life,” he believes.

Teachings and other resources will be published on EurECA's website after the conference. Next year’s conference in 2025 will be held in Albania. For the future, Kuklinek says that he hopes more young teachers will attend the conferences and get more involved in reaching today’s students.

“We are putting a special effort into younger teachers, and we would like to see every child in Europe spend one year of their lives under the care of a Christian educator,” he states.



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