Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a rise in the critical need for mental health resources. According to the National Education Association, in 2022, 15% of teens have suffered a major depressive episode, and a third of U.S. parents said their child recently showed symptoms of mental health issues, anxiety (19%), and depression (13%).
As a response, our Boys & Girls Club has taken strategic actions to support our Club staff and the youth we serve in the areas of overall mental wellness. We will ensure more youth and staff have access to these critical resources by:
- providing our staff with additional training and support on social-emotional services
- intentionally designing our Club curriculum to improve and support our youth in social-emotional intelligence, and
- increase our network of community partners to provide specialized support for our youth.
To date, our staff has been trained to identify, address, and respond appropriately to our youths’ mental and social-emotional problems through a partnership with Start Well. In addition, the Wellness and Prevention Center trained our teen staff in their Youth Mental Health First Aid Training so that they can be aware of common mental illnesses, provide appropriate support, and connect members to professional resources if mental illness symptoms are displayed.
Not only is our staff taking the necessary trainings to support our youth, but Club members are also learning about their overall mental wellness with the assistance of our community partners. Curriculum from Neurodiversity Horizons allows our members to understand neurodiversity, mental health awareness, anti-bullying, and how to be a supportive friend. And through a collaboration with the Boys & Girls Club of Garden Grove, pre-teens at our Santa Ana Club are learning about mental health awareness, de-stigmatization of mental health, and coping skills to use when experiencing anxiety.
Our goal is simple: we remain deeply committed to meeting our members’ holistic needs with our adaptable programming and support, and will continue to address the heightened mental health issues facing our youth.
If you would like to learn more about this critical initiative and how you can partner with us, please visit our Mental Health & Wellness page or contact our Director of Mental Health & Wellness Trisha Jackson.