Youth Ministry and Mental Health Initiative Podcasts

The Northeastern Minnesota Synod Youth Ministry & Mental Health Initiative Podcasts are designed to help families and faith communities begin conversations on mental health. The goal of these podcasts is to provide education on mental health conditions, and invite further conversations.  Joy Hensel, Program Consultant for the Youth Ministry and Mental Health Initiative, serves as host for these conversations on mental health.

Funding for the NE MN Synod Youth Ministry & Mental Health Initiative Podcasts is provided through a generous grant from the Disability Ministries, made possible through Always Being Made New: The Campaign for the ELCA. Permission is given to use these materials in your local context as long as no profit is made from its use. 

The podcast series covers our focus areas of Mental Wellbeing, Anxiety, Depression, Suicide Prevention and Response, and Grief. Each focus area has a podcast for “Equipping Family and Friends” and “Equipping Ministry Leaders.” A portion of the teaching for each focus area is the same both the family/friends and ministry leader podcasts, but then moves on to specific content for each audience. We encourage you to listen to both!

Podcast focus Areas:

                        Equipping Family and Friends                            Equipping Ministry leaders

Mental Wellbeing: Equipping Family and Friends

Mental Wellbeing: Equipping Ministry Leaders


Mental Wellbeing Podcast Speaker

Catherine Anderson
Coordinator of Youth Ministry

Joy Hensel and Catherine Anderson have a conversation on Mental Wellbeing and five ways you can address mental wellbeing with the young people in your life. For more information and resources, visit

Anxiety: Equipping Family and Friends

Anxiety: Equipping Ministry Leaders

Resources Referenced in Podcast

Anxiety Podcast Speaker

Biz Sorenson
Mental Health Therapist, Denfeld High School, Duluth, MN

Depression: Equipping Family and Friends

Depression: Equipping Ministry Leaders

Resources referenced in the Podcast

Depression Podcast Speaker

Emily Jacobsma
Crisis Psychotherapist, Emergency Department — HealthEst/Fairview

Suicide Prevention and Response: Equipping Family and Friends

Suicide Prevention and Response: Equipping Ministry Leaders

Resources referenced in Podcast and other Resources

Suicide Prevention and Responce Podcast Speaker

Kris Erie
School Social Worker

Grief: Equipping Family and Friends

Grief: Equipping Ministry Leaders

Resources referenced in Podcast

Grief Podcast Speakers

Anna Madsen (MDicv, PhD) and Else Madsen
OMG Center for Theological Conversation and Spent Dandelion Retreat Center


The Northeatern Minnesota Synod Youth Ministry & Mental Health Initiative Discussion Guides, Workshops, Podcasts and other resources are informative resource materials. They are intended as a first step for some very important discussions. Mental health is a complex field. The information provided here is not complete and does not cover all issues related to mental health. These materials should never replace the advice of a skilled mental health professional informed by detailed and specific discussions. Over time, website links and articles may become outdated as new research and theories emerge. Always seek the advice of a mental health professional or other qualified health provider for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment if you suspect you or someone you know has a mental illness or mental health condition. If you, or someone you know, are in crisis, please call 911 immediately. If you are having suicidal or injurious thoughts, call 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) to talk with a trained counselor.