MEMPHIS, TN — In collaboration with the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Girl Scouts Heart of the South is proud to introduce the new “It’s OKAY” Patch Program aimed to help today’s girls learn to be resilient, ready, and strong. With help and guidance from our state’s leading experts on youth mental wellness, Girl Scouts Heart of the South is launching this new program to help girls understand that “It’s okay to not be okay,” sometimes. Through creative discussion, guided introspection and interactive games, the program aims to help girls learn to express their emotions and think more positively about themselves and the situations presented to them every day.
Melanie Schild, CEO of Girl Scouts Heart of the South said, “Even before COVID, we were already in the middle of a youth mental health crisis, and the pandemic has only exacerbated the stress on girls’ mental health. With the introduction of the ‘It’s OKAY’ Patch Program and the Mental Wellness Initiative, Girl Scouts is taking a more dedicated approach to supporting the needs of our Movement and girls across the country. Thank you to our partners at the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services for working with us to help develop this vital program for Tennessee girls.”
Marie Williams, LCSW, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services said, “It’s truly OK to not feel OK. Girls and young women are so much more than a diagnosis or how they are feeling in a certain moment. When we are equipped and empowered to talk about our own mental health, we’re also just as powerfully equipped to listen and support the mental health of those around us. As a former Girl Scout myself, I am grateful for the interest and partnership of Girl Scouts Heart of the South in creating a program to address the stigma that too often keeps girls isolated and alone.”
The “It’s OKAY” Patch Program is being introduced in conjunction with Girl Scouts of the USA’s national Mental Wellness Initiative which aims to give girls the tools they need to support their own mental wellness and to give council staff, volunteers, and parents/caregivers the resources they need to support girls and practice self-care.
The ”It’s OKAY” Patch Program launched in the Girl Scouts Heart of the South council jurisdiction area the week of May 23 and is available to Girl Scouts nationwide through the GSUSA Mental Wellness Initiative.