It’s Mental Health Awareness Month. What Can YOU do to Help?

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.

Troop 701 practices positive affirmations for mental health during a troop meeting in April.

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

Hey grownups!

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.

Girls Are Having a Mental Health Crisis—Some Solutions, Though, Are Simple

Yes, Your Daughter Just Called Herself Fat

Bad Day? Tell Your Daughter About It!

One in Four Teen Girls Self-Harm. Here’s How You Can Help.

Girl Scouts head to NYC as national representatives for 67th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations

Three members of the Girl Scouts Gulfcoast Council were among those representing the Girl Scout movement and serving as delegates at the 67th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations headquarters in New York City in March.

The Gulfcoast delegates included Girl Scout Seniors Mackenzie Shockey, Olivia Trader, and Mackenzie Valenza.

Each year, more than 5,000 women and girls from around the world gather for this session focused on the worldwide state of gender equality. Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida is one of only five Girl Scout councils, out of more than 100 councils nationwide, selected to send a delegation to the 2023 session.

The girls submitted applications to the council and were selected to join fellow Girl Scouts from California, Florida and Oklahoma.

During the Commission on the Status of Women, girls attended sessions, listened to speakers and advocated for what they believe is important and relevant for girls today. They engaged with non-governmental organizations, U.N. agencies, country missions and other youth delegates from around the world. Delegates also took part in and spoke at Girl Scout parallel events about STEM, digital literacy, access to technology in rural areas, and the importance of Girl Scouts and other organizations to champion digital literacy for girls.

Along with attending inspirational events led by women leaders and professionals from across the globe during their visit to the U.N., the girls were also part of advocacy groups, conversation circles, assisted with girl statement writing, and moderated their own event in collaboration with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. They also met people from all over the world, visited GSUSA headquarters, sat in on the UN General Assembly and more.

To prepare for their roles during the experience, Girl Scouts participated in bi-weekly Zoom training beginning in August 2022.