The challenges of today’s world don’t only affect grownups. Young people—especially girls—are facing a mental health crisis of their own. Supporting them as they grow and face life’s complexities is a top priority.
According to new CDC data released in Feb. 2023, nearly 3 in 5 (57%) U.S. teen girls felt persistently sad or hopeless in 2021—double that of boys, representing a nearly 60% increase and the highest level reported over the past decade.
According to the report, youth mental health has continued to worsen—with particularly stark increases in widespread reports of harmful experiences among teen girls:
- Nearly 1 in 3 (30%) seriously considered attempting suicide—up nearly 60% from a decade ago.
- 1 in 5 (18%) experienced sexual violence in the past year—up 20% since 2017, when CDC started monitoring this measure.
- More than 1 in 10 (14%) had been forced to have sex—up 27% since 2019 and the first increase since CDC began monitoring this measure.
- More than half (52%) of LGBQ+ students had recently experienced poor mental health and, concerningly, more than 1 in 5 (22%) attempted suicide in the past year.
After reading this, you may be asking: what can I do to help?
Girl Scouts plus their families, caregivers, and volunteers now have access to these mental wellness resources from Girl Scouts of the USA and trusted partners. From new activities to trainings, you’ll find what you need to get started.
Activities you can do
From developing social-emotional skills by showing kindness to their family and friends to celebrating differences and making others feel included, Girl Scout Daisies learn what it means to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful, and how they can apply the Girl Scout Law to their lives. Get started with the following activities today and see your Daisy grow into their strongest, most resilient self.
Create a Bag of Kindness
Practice emotional skills and social competence by making a bag of positive notes for your family.
Make a Respect Myself Checklist
Make a checklist of ways you can take care of yourself, inside and out.
Activities have been adapted from Girl Scout programming. For certain grade levels, these activities may be part of a badge program.
Patches you can earn
Complete the Resilient, Ready, Strong Activity Guide
You already know Girl Scouts is fun. Guess what? It’s also a great way to build your inner strength so that you’re ready for anything!
Scientists have found that certain activities may lift your mood, calm you down when you’re stressed, and help you face challenges—and you can do many of these activities in Girl Scouts.
The “Complete the Resilient, Ready, Strong Activity Guide” includes a chart with 10 skills that may help boost your resilience. Each skill has two activity choices, pulled from Girl Scout programming. Choose the ones that interest you, and give them a try!
Daisy Petal Set: Mental Wellness & Inclusion
Cultivate curiosity with the Daisy Promise Center and Learning Petal badges! This set of badges will introduce Girl Scout values to Daisies through engaging, hands-on activities from one or more of the Girl Scout pillars: STEM, Life Skills, Outdoors, and Entrepreneurship. Each petal badge focuses on a different line of the Girl Scout Law.
Resources you can learn from
Want to learn more about girls’ mental wellbeing but not sure where to start? These trainings and resources from our mental health partners will give you the tools you need to begin your journey.
Being inclusive really matters
Practice using inclusive and equitable language to support girls. Volunteers: Take this 15 minute training by logging into myGS>gsLearn.
Understanding mental wellness
Coming soon: special workshops for Girl Scouts to build mental health skills, created in partnership with the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Youth Mental Health First Aid
Managed by the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, adult volunteers will learn how to identify and respond to youth mental health challenges.
Articles you can read
Here is a list of articles on the GSUSA blog you can read about mental health awareness.