Girl Scouts can now earn patches while learning the importance of mental health.

Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois (GSEIWI) announced the launch of three new mental wellness patches as part of the group’s Mental Health Initiative. The initiative was launched in response to the mental health crises faced by young women today. The program is designed for girls in grades 4-12 and provides useful tools to help them safely identify and explore their feelings, look for support and find resources for help.  

The new patches include:

Knowing My Emotions (Girl Scout Juniors, grades 4-5) 

This program teaches Girl Scout Juniors positive coping skills and how to name their feelings. 

Finding My Voice (Girl Scout Cadettes, grades 6-8)

Girl Scout Cadettes learn about stigma, helping friends, how to be mindful on social media and how to practice self-care. 

Showing Up for Me and You (Girl Scout Seniors/Ambassadors, grades 9-12)

This program gives Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors ideas for practicing self-care and coping mechanisms for managing difficult situations for themselves and others. 

Each patch program includes an adult facilitator guide to help troop leaders approach girls in a sensitive way, prompt important conversations and help them through difficult moments. Program materials contain meeting aids, parent/caregiver resources, teaser activities and marketing tools to give troop leaders and council staff support and activities focused on mental wellness, behavioral issues and healthy habits. The public can access the resources in the Girl Scout Activity Zone, where people can explore and download free wellness curriculum and activities.

The Girl Scout Movement is part of an ongoing commitment to ensure the support of kids’ well-being. They’ve released a variety of innovative mental wellness resources for Girl Scouts. Council staff, volunteers and caregivers receive training during Mental Health Awareness Month.  

These patches were made possible by the HCA Healthcare Foundation and created in partnership with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the GSUSA Program Advisory Committee, including HCA Healthcare behavioral health experts. They’re part of GSUSA’s continued commitment to providing solutions to the national mental health crises young girls are facing.

“We are proud to continue partnering with Girl Scouts on this research-based mental wellness program,” said Joanne Pulles, vice president of community engagement at HCA Healthcare and president of the HCA Healthcare Foundation. “Girls need support now more than ever, and thanks to the reach of the Girl Scouts model, we know that these resources have the potential to make a positive impact on countless young women.”

Studies have shown that girls are disproportionally affected by the increasing mental health crisis in America. Data from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) shows that nearly 90% of parents prioritize their child’s mental health over academic achievement. 

“NAMI is proud to support Girl Scouts’ effort to raise awareness for mental health and well-being with the patch program,” said NAMI CEO Daniel H. Gillison, Jr. ”The reach and ability to support girls across age groups with tailored resources and activities is incredibly valuable not only for the girls but also for parents and caregivers. We hope by making it easier to talk generally about mental health with a trusted adult, girls will feel more at ease sharing concerns or asking questions.”

For more information on these patches and to access resources, click here.