Earlier today I came across an interesting article from the International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF) which you can find by clicking here.
The new scheme put into place by IBPF allows young girls across America to earn a Mental Health Awareness Patch as apart of their Girl Guides, Girl Scouts and Heritage Girls training.
I myself was in the Rainbows and Brownies here in the UK – I gave up by Guides; but along with everyone else, I did earn my own fair share of badges. Examples included learning different knots, planning healthy lunches, sewing on buttons and helping to raise money for a good cause.
The aim is to help young girls learn basic and useful life skills, and from memory, everyone was willing to do the tasks because we all knew that the coolest girls had the most badges sewn to their sashes. We were all eager and determined to keep learning the things necessary to add to our collection.
So wouldn’t it be great if we could now incorporate mental health into the training these young girls receieve? The IBPF lists the following aims for the new Mental Health Awareness Patch distributed across America:
Learn how the brain impacts mental health
Explore how discrimination against those with a mental health condition makes it difficult to seek help
Learn about many great achievers who experienced mental illness
Research how mental health is portrayed in the media
Create anti-stigma campaign activities
This training wouldn’t just enable these young girls to grow up into understanding and well-rounded women, but would also encourage them in later life to get the help they may need, with less fear and stigma attached to the idea of mental illness.
Now I am neither a child nor have a child, so my last trip to one of these clubs was quite some time ago, but do these patches exist within the UK?
I have already emailed Girlguiding UK to ask (but maybe one of you can enlighten me first), and also asked if something like this isn’t in place, where I can formally suggest it and put forward a case for how important I think an initiative like this is.
It’s fantastic to see something practical being done by the IBPF. So often I get American’s commenting on my posts jealous of some of the initiatives we have here in the UK (because these are the ones I focus on being here myself), but the USA is beating us as far as I know on this one!