We love it when we learn something new (which is just about every day!). It turns out that the Girl Scouts have a Mental Health Awareness Patch and the credit for the development goes to the good folks at the International Bipolar Foundation, located in San Diego, California. Check out the requirements for earning the patch below. If you have a Girl Scout, encourage her to get this particular Merit Badge! Hey Boy Scouts, where is your similar patch?
Mental Health Awareness Patch
- Purpose: To increase girls' knowledge and understanding of people who have mental illness and develop an understanding on how mental illness affects the community. To create "mental health ambassadors" by helping spread the word about how stigma affects those with mental illness.
Girl Scout Brownies must complete four (4) activities. Girl Scout Juniors must complete five (5) activities. Girl Scout Cadettes must complete six (6) activities. Girl Scout Seniors & Ambassadors must complete seven (7) activities.
* All levels must complete # 12 after they’ve finished the required number of activities.
1. Learn what it means to have a "mental illness". What organ of the body is affected? What kind of symptoms do we see?
2. Find 5 famous people who suffer from mental illness.
3. Explain 3 different ways mental illness is treated.
4. Look up the definition of "stigma" in the dictionary. Think about how stigma could affect someone with a mental illness. Think about what you would do if you heard someone using the words "crazy" or "nuts" to describe someone with a mental illness.
5. Interview someone who has suffered from mental illness and find out more about how they have been affected by stigma.
6. Volunteer at a function or facility that addresses the needs of those with mental illness. Opportunities are available through the International Bipolar Foundation, or the San Diego Chapter of the National Alliance for Mental Illness or the San Diego Chapter of Mental Health America. (If you don't live in the San Diego area, contact the International Bipolar Foundation for potential locations in your area.)
7. Discuss with your school’s counselor/principal how your school supports individuals with mental illness.
8. Create a collage of famous people who suffer from mental illness.
9. Share with family and friends contributions to society by individuals who suffer from mental illness.
10. Pass it on: Explain stigma and the problems it causes to one adult. Ask that adult to share with another, and that person to share with another, etc.
11. Do some research on bipolar disorder. What is the cause, how is it treated, and how many people are affected in the United States? In the world?
12. Share what you have learned about mental illness and stigma with your troop by creating a picture, collage, skit, song, or essay. Next, share the information with people your age outside of your troop, family, and friends.
To learn more and get your patch send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.