Okay to Say Mental Health Patch Helping Thousands of Girl Scouts
Since it was launched regionally in North Texas in 2019, the Okay to Say Mental Health Patch Program for Girl Scouts has been an unqualified success. It went statewide in 2020, with more than 5,500 Girl Scouts earning the patch so far, including nearly 150 nationwide.
The Houston Chronicle ran an excellent story about the program last week, which gave us a chance to hear directly from the people our programs like these are meant to help: children.
“I’ve learned that it’s OK to speak up and share your problems with other people instead of just bottling it up,” Amita, 10, told Chronicle writer Diane Cowen. “I had a big anxiety attack one night. I took deep breaths and cuddled with my mom until I felt better. I was just frustrated that day.”
The article notes how patch earners are also better attuned to the feelings of others.
“We did these lessons, and we role-played what you would do if you saw somebody at school and they were crying. We got to figure out a practice if that happened,” Emmie, 9, told the paper. “If I saw someone crying I would say to them, ‘Are you OK, and do you need a hug?’ If they don’t want to talk and only want alone time, I would leave them alone.”
Emmie talked about hearing out a classmate who was crying and upset because her parents were divorcing.
A lot of the work we do at the Meadows Institute is behind the scenes and our progress is often measured in numbers and statistics, but this article allowed us to see directly how we are helping young people across Texas, and across the country, better understand mental health and cope more effectively with stress and anxiety, particularly during the time of COVID.
The article is available online here.