Girl Scouts of America Join the Mental Health Movement

girl scout patchGirl Scout cookie season is back, and that’s something we can all be happy about; but there’s something else Girl Scouts of America is distributing that is even better than cookies: a Mental Health Awareness patch.

An article published on Addiction.com talks about how Girl Scouts can earn this patch by learning about mental health challenges, discrimination and stigma, as well as how to create anti-stigma campaign activities.

The patch was introduced by the International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF) about three years ago, and has proven to have a positive effect, according to IBPF’s Director of Operations Ashley Jacobs.

In 2012, a San Diego, Calif. troop became the first to give the girl scouts the Mental Health Awareness patch. Since then, about 3,000 girls have gone on to earn the patch while learning about mental health challenges, and more and more are being sent to troops every day.

This initiative to end stigma surrounding mental health challenges has affected not only the girl scouts, but also troop leaders, parents and friends of the scouts. One troop leader explained in a thank-you note that she didn’t have anyone to talk to growing up about her mental health, so when she experienced feelings of anxiety and depression, she felt ashamed. Now she see’s girls talking openly about mental health and learning that it is a medical issue that can be treated, just like any physical condition.

These patches are available to Girl Scouts of America troops nationwide, and are an inspiring source of hope for the mental health movement.

To learn more about the curriculum required to earn the patch, please visit http://bit.ly/17vTFUU today.