Local girl scout creates mental health awareness patch
Emma Wegener, a senior at Anclote High School, creates a Girl Scout Patch Program to address mental health awareness.
TRINITY, FL — Emma Wegener, daughter of Sue Wegener, RN, Medical Center of Trinity-Behavioral Health Center, a senior at Anclote High School and member of Girl Scout Troop 1142, knows first-hand the importance of mental health.
Throughout her middle and high school, she noticed there was no education being presented to students about mental health. She witnessed the misuse of terms, the suffering of individuals struggling with mental health issues, and the growing stigma surrounding this important subject;
She knew all of these problems are due to lack of education and accurate information. She became fed up with the stigma, shame, and misinformation. To address this issue, she created a Girl Scout Patch Program – the Gold Award: The Mental Health Awareness Patch, For Girls by Girls.
This patch program, aimed at middle and high school level girl scouts, is to help provide an accurate education about mental health. The self-guided program is divided into five key parts:
- People-first language and the seriousness of the topic.
- Mental wellness: during this step, the girls are encouraged to find ways to improve their mental wellness.
- Mental health disorders which most significantly affect the female population: anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. These serious topics are addressed scientifically, through a lens of understanding and compassion.
- Hotlines & support groups: information about all different resources available for those who may be struggling to maintain mental wellness.
- Taught and motivated to have conversations about their mental wellness with a trusted individual.
Throughout the program, the scouts learn about negative stigma, how it persists, and most importantly how to fight it.
This patch is an attempt to accurately educate middle and high school students about something that affects all of us – mental health - and normalize the information and productive conversations around it.
Scouts are supposed to be the change, and Emma is in the process of leading that through her Gold Award. This project is the Girl Scout equivalence to the Boy Scout Eagle Scout award. This is the cumulation of knowledge and skills that she has developed over twelve years of scouting.
“Care like family is our culture at Medical Center of Trinity which makes hearing about Emma’s efforts so special for our entire hospital family,” explains CEO Tripp Owings. “We are dedicated to giving people a healthier tomorrow which includes addressing mental health awareness and understanding in our community. We thank Emma for her contribution to this important work.”