EL PASO, Texas -- Talking to our children about mental health isn't an easy conversation to have. However, the Girl Scouts of the Desert Southwest are hoping that a new patch program will help parents and their young daughters normalize the conversation.
"With the COVID-19 Pandemic, there's so many things that are creating stress and anxiety especially with teens and children," said Shelby Abeyta, Campaign Director for the Okay To Say Mental Health Campaign.
"We try to provide encouragement and resources to people trying to find help and also resources to supporters like friends and family," said Abeyta.
One of the campaigns newest resources, The Okay To Say Patch Program, will provide young girls with an opportunity to have open conversations about their emotions.
"Being able to talk to these young girls about their mental health at an early age, instilling those healthy habits can have a lifelong impact," said Abeyta.
"Our girls here in El Paso and Las Cruces are experiencing so many different emotions. They have gone from being together in class rooms and hanging out to isolation and being at home all the time," said Patty Craven, CEO for the Girl Scouts of the Desert Southwest.
The online program is available to any Girl Scout in Texas and is designed to help girls gain confidence through a series of hands on activities.
"You have programs for girls that are daisies which are kindergarten and first graders, and you have programs for girls who are in 10th or 11th grade," said Craven.
Programs for younger Girl Scouts include learning the basics of talking about emotions through emojis.
"For the older girls there's an activity about creating a mental health awareness campaign in your school or your church," explained Abeyta.
When Girl Scouts complete the program, they get a one of a kind Okay To Say Mental Health Patch.
"Within the patch design we have a sun and a cloud exchanging feelings and supporting each other, and then we also have a kite that reflects the uplifting effect that greater social awareness can have on a girls own mental health," said Abeyta.
For Craven, being able to provide young girls with an opportunity to talk about their mental health is something she is excited to do.
"It's not something you hide in the back like it used to be when we were growing up," said Craven, "Now, more than ever, we need to talk about it. We need to bring it out to the forefront."
The Girl Scouts of the Desert Southwest currently have a program which allows new Girl Scouts to register at no cost. Click Here for more information on how to sign your daughter up for Girl Scouts.
Click Here for more information on the Okay To Say Patch Program.