Mental Health Awareness Patch

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.

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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.

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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:

  • LearnΒ 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!

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31 thoughts on “Mental Health Awareness Patch

  1. lifeofmiblog says:

    Hi Lauren. That is quite amazing really but truly a great idea. Starting young certainly could make a big difference as this is when they also learn their prejudices. All the best with the UK.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Aidan not Aiden says:

    This is really cool. I was never lucky enough to be a Girl Scout (IDK why my mother didn’t sign me up–my brother was a Boy Scout) but I always wish I had been. Their policies are pretty fantastic and it’s awesome to see them implementing such an important cause into their program!

    Good luck on getting in place in the UK (if it isn’t already)! I’m sure if it’s not you can petition the board members to implement it.

    Like

  3. lolabipola says:

    Mental health awareness should be included in all school curriculum’s! 1 in 4 people experience mental health issues in their lifetime – that’s a lot of people being stigmatised and possibly prevented from seeking help!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. loveforlife says:

    What an incredible step in the right direction! Thanks for sharing this enlightening information. Mental health affects everyone, whether good or bad, and education is the best place to start. Girl Scouts is already such a positive program so I’m thrilled to see they’re gaining positivity in my book πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ezi2015 says:

    Reblogged this on Living Resiliently Blog and commented:
    Wow…The Girl Scouts of America are stepping up their game, by helping their girls foster awareness and acceptance of people in their communities that are different them. Lauren Hayley of bylaurenhayley discusses how the non-profit organization created the “Mental Illness Awareness” patch and it’s objective, as well as her thoughts. Continue reading the blog for more details.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. edennomore says:

    I wish they had this when I was in scouts. I was in to my first year as an adult. I had all kinds of crazy badges, but I wish this one existed. I may have gotten help sooner.

    Like

  7. BrizzleLass says:

    Reblogged this on BrizzleLass and commented:
    This is a wonderful initiative for the USA and like Lauren, I hope that the UK is not far behind with this. To have children learning and understanding how mental health impacts every day lives, how stigma can negatively impact is huge and this is a wonderful way to pro-actively get them interested.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. LetterstoMySon says:

    A really well written piece and a really positive one as well, love it πŸ™‚ to see men talking about mental health issues and even things as simple as crying openly and without shame gives me real hope for the future πŸ™‚ Brendan’s story of how he outgrew and conquered his demons is really heartwarming. Congrats to him, keep on running and kicking ass!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. bipolarsojourner says:

    that’s a cool idea! nothing like trying to kill a the stigma before their little heads get feels with misinformation.. I’m going to pass this on to both the girl and bot scouts of america. good find!

    Like

  10. lorri09 says:

    I love this! I am American and was in Brownies and Juniors (Girl Scouts) but left because the curriculum was starting to get into things young girls don’t need to deal with, with a troop leader that tried to peer pressure me into things I did not want to do. My little sister did Heritage Girls and loved it. It is a patch worth earning, something all organizations should welcome. Maybe if we had that when I was younger my troop leader would not have treated me so poorly.

    Like

  11. Sandra Yeaman says:

    Hi Lauren. This post intrigued me for several reasons. First, the International Bipolar Foundation’s headquarters are in San Diego, California, and that is where I live. Second, I have a friend who works for the Girl Scouts of America in San Diego. I discovered IBF is an official community partner for Girl Scouts of San Diego. Here’s the link to the full list of community partner – http://www.sdgirlscouts.org/en/about-girl-scouts/our-program/ways-to-participate/community-partners.html.

    Like

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