Youth Ministry Mini Course

Tackling the Four Biggest Hurts of Teens

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Enrollment Fee
$40 value
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Course Overview

In the universe of “Helping Challenges,” we need extra focus on the four big issues in teenagers’ lives. This course will help you uncover and explore self-harm, addiction, depression, and suicide because they are the four most serious challenges that typically confront those serving in youth ministry. And they’re all complicated, demanding issues that can quickly overwhelm our ability to help. This training is dedicated to understanding these issues and discovering how to respond with the help that’s needed.

This mini course is made up of content from our Helping Hurting Teenagers full course. For more extensive training on helping and supporting teenagers who are hurting deeply, enroll in our full course on Helping Hurting Teenagers.

Course Outline

Getting Started

Discover how to navigate your online course, get connected to our ministry network, and download a copy of the Course Notes.


Meet course instructor Dr. Marv Penner, Registered Clinical Counselor and the Executive Director of All About Youth, Canada. He’ll give you the tools you need to help hurting teenagers with the kind of skilled, compassionate, and wise counsel they so desperately need.

Module 1. The Four Topics You Need to Know About

In the universe of helping teenagers, we need extra focus on the four big issues in their lives. In this module will examine self-harm, addiction, depression, and suicide—the four most serious issues that typically confront those serving in youth ministry.

Module 2. Self-Harm

Self-harm is a psychologically addicting behavior that involves purposeful injury of yourself, but not so serious that it leads to death. Kids who self-harm are typically coping with serious trauma, depression, or anxiety. This module will help you recognize the signs of self-harm and how to respond.

Module 3. Addiction

Addiction is a chronic biological/psychological compulsion to use substances as mood-altering agents. An addiction deeply alters the functioning of the brain and body. Its side effects are devastating—often damaging or destroying families, relationships, school performance, and health. This module will help you recognize the signs of addiction and how to respond.

Module 4. Depression

Depression is a mental health disorder characterized by a persistently “dark” mood, loss of interest in activities, trouble sleeping, and overwhelming feelings of sadness. Depression impairs kids’ ability to meet the requirements of daily life. This module will help you recognize the signs of depression and how to respond.

Module 5. Suicide

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death overall and the second leading cause of death for those 10 to 34 years of age. If this trajectory perpetuates, suicide will eclipse “unintentional injury” as the number one killer of teenagers. This module will help you discern suicidal threats and how to respond.

Module 6. Wrap Up

If you were to categorize what Jesus actually did during his three-year “public ministry,” you’d discover he spent most of his time helping people overcome their physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual struggles. This module will help examine a Jesus-Centered response to helping hurting teenagers.

Course Outcomes

U Discover

Best practices on intervention when you suspect a teenager is involved in self-harm.

How the addictive process works and how to respond.

The thinking patterns that drive depression and the important role of community.

The S.L.A.P. method for discerning suicidal thoughts.

U Will

Understand the four biggest challenges facing teens today, and how to effectively respond to move them forward toward health and recovery.

About the Instructor


Marv Penner is a Registered Clinical Counselor and the Executive Director of All About Youth, Canada. He founded and leads The Coalition for Youth Ministry Excellence and is the National Director of Youth Specialties Canada. He’s an associate staff member of the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding and was previously a Professor of Christian Ministry at Briercrest College and Seminary. He got his start in youth ministry, serving for 15 years at the same church in Ontario, Canada.

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