Did you know that May is National Mental Health Awareness Month? Good mental health is critical for girls’ and young women’s ability to lead healthy, fulfilling, and meaningful lives. At Girls Inc., we are taking the initiative to make sure that our participants are empowered to take control of their mental health today and every day.
Girls Inc.’s research-based programming puts mental health into daily practice. Staff are trained to help girls learn how to access the resources they need, whether it’s formal counseling or just a quiet place to gather their thoughts. These interventions reach girls wherever they are – from summer camp to classrooms.
Each year our Community Impact department provides Health & Wellness programming to over 20 schools across Central Alabama! Programming includes mental health strategies to address bullying, prevent burn-out, build self-esteem, and promote body positivity. Our staff also works with school counselors to address the needs identified by the participants’ teachers.
At our Crestwood Center, staff has implemented a wide array of activities and initiatives to benefit girls’ mental health. During daily “Mental Health Moments,” the participants practice breathing exercises, share in group sessions, and learn tips on how to take care of their bodies and their minds. Each room in the Crestwood Center has a cozy corner – a space for girls to decompress if they aren’t feeling up to participation that day. However, staff says that these changes have only led to increased participation and eagerness from the girls.
Recently, our teens have participated in “More Than Magic” sessions where they work with donated “Express It” journals. These journals include prompts that address popular social & emotional learning topics such as self-esteem, finding your inner protector, and setting goals. We also recently hosted a “More Than Magic” art therapy session for our teens, which allowed participants to showcase their artistic side and express themselves in a supportive space.
Since implementing these mental health initiatives, Crestwood staff members have noticed a big impact. Learning Coordinator Rauslyn Adams says, “The girls are more transparent and vocal, because we constantly give them the tools they need to utilize their voices respectfully. Our parents are more open and willing to discuss their issues and express the help they need to initially create a healthy environment for themselves and the girls. Overall, the girls have shown an increase in their abilities to thrive and persevere and are the epitome of what our mission stands for; strong, smart and bold.”
At Girls Inc., participants receive the resources and support to confidently face the many challenges of growing up as a girl today. Surrounded by a sisterhood of support, girls realize they are not alone and that it’s okay to ask for help! Our staff strives every day to provide intentional programming that builds resilience for both Girls Inc. girls and the adults in their lives, and we couldn’t be more proud to see their work pay off.
Join us this month in raising awareness and destigmatizing mental health issues today and every day! We invite you to share this story or follow us on social media as we celebrate ways to make a difference in our own mental health each #MentalHealthMonday.