Mental Health Awareness Month: Why We’re Prioritizing Mental Health
Since 1949, Mental Health America and its affiliates have recognized May as Mental Health Awareness Month in the U.S. For 31 days, the organization reaches millions of people through the media, local events and screenings. While we’re grateful for this added spotlight on mental health, our work on the ground with girls around the world has revealed that this is a conversation we need to prioritize all year long, and not just in the United States.
A primary goal of Global G.L.O.W. programming is to ensure girls stay in school, and complete primary and secondary school. When girls are educated, they can transform their lives, communities and our shared world. However, girls today are facing overwhelming challenges, many of which are related to health and well-being, including mental health.
Challenges with mental health often start in adolescence and can have a big impact on a young person’s physical health and overall wellbeing as well as their likelihood of thriving in adulthood. Adolescent girls, especially those living in vulnerable communities, are often more at-risk for challenges with mental health including anxiety, depression, and the emotional and mental impact of stigma around menstruation and puberty.
In 2018, we launched the pilot of our newest initiative, Healthy G.L.O.W., to specifically address girls’ health and well-being with a proprietary, evidence-based curriculum. The 16-week pilot was successful in our three test sites, Kenya, Cambodia and Southern California, and we look forward to rolling out the program in more locations this year. Mental health is also prominent in our HerStory curriculum, especially since it is rooted in Social-Emotional Learning.
While we aim to reach as many girls as possible with our programming, we know there is still much work to do. Here are some of our favorite resources for mental health:
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