Girl Scouts Can Now Earn a Mental Health Awareness Patch
At the age when many young girls get “the talk,” learn about their bodies and experience the glories of puberty, not often do they get a chance to learn about their brains. Now, in an effort to educate young girls about just that, Girl Scouts can earn a patch in mental health awareness.
The program was created by the International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF), and while it originated with Girl Scouts, the patch is available to all scouting organizations, including American Heritage Girls, Girl Guides and others, according IBPF’s website.
All ranks of Girl Scouts — Daisies, Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes and Seniors — can earn the patch, with specific activities for certain age groups.
Scouts in the program will learn the impact of mental health, discuss the definition of stigma, learn about successful people who have experienced mental illness, research how mental health is portrayed in the media and create anti-stigma campaign activities.
They’ll also have opportunities to invite a mental health professional to speak to their troop and explore what mental health resources are available at their school and community.
“With older girls, some might be struggling with these issues themselves,” Heather Zupin, content manager for the International Bipolar Foundation, told The Chicago Tribune. “For them, our goal is that they won’t be afraid to ask for help if they need it and that they know how to get that help. For younger girls, it’s more about learning how to treat everyone and reinforcing that you don’t know what people are dealing with so you should be nice to everyone.”
So far, 4,000 girls have participated, Zupin told The Tribune.