Jan 11, 2023 Press Releases
SOUTH PORTLAND, ME — Girl Scouts of Maine (GSME) received a $5,000 donation from Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution to support the mental health needs of Girl Scouts in Maine. These critical funds will be used to train and certify GSME staff members as Youth Mental Health First Aid Facilitators. In turn, the GSME facilitators will teach 120-240 volunteers, troop leaders, and additional GSME staff to become Youth Mental Health First Aiders within the first year of the program. Certification will be completed through the National Council for Mental Wellbeing’s Mental Health First Aid program.
Girl Scouts of Maine serves over 5,000 girls annually, ages 5 to 18, and over 3,500 adult volunteers. Currently, GSME has one staff member certified to train Youth Mental Health First Aiders. The newly certified trainers will prioritize training staff and volunteers who work directly with girls at GSME programs and camps.
“This initiative to supplement existing resources with specialized training in youth mental health first aid will allow our staff and volunteers to feel confident they can support the increasing needs of today’s girls in a meaningful way”, says Suzanne Hand, Girl Scouts of Maine SVP Mission Delivery. “As more and more staff and volunteers are trained, we hope that along with our robust girl programming designed to bolster girls’ mental wellbeing, Girl Scouts of Maine can play a critical role in supporting and improving girls’ mental health wellbeing throughout Maine.”
“It’s important to recognize the mental health crisis that is ongoing. Supporting the Girl Scouts of Maine initiative to provide trained individuals for their programming is something we feel can make a valuable and lasting impact on the young people in our communities,” says Bob Quentin, President & CEO of Saco and Biddeford Savings.
Youth mental health issues are increasing at an alarming rate in Maine, especially among girls. According to the results of the 2021 Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey female high school students reported worse mental health than male students. Nearly 57% of female students said their mental health was not good “most of the time” or “always,” compared to nearly 29% of male students.
Founded in 1969, the National Council for Mental Wellbeing drives policy and social change on behalf of mental health and substance use treatment organizations and the people they serve. Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is an evidence-based training program primarily designed for adults who regularly interact with young people. Administered by the National Council for Mental Wellbeing that teaches individuals how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental health and substance use challenges. More than 2.5 million people across the United States have been trained in Mental Health First Aid.
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Girl Scouts bring their dreams to life and work together to build a better world. Through programs across the state of Maine and beyond, Girl Scouts of all backgrounds and abilities can be unapologetically themselves as they discover their strengths and rise to meet new challenges—whether they want to climb to the top of a tree or the top of their class, lace up their boots for a hike or advocate for climate justice, or make their first best friends. Backed by trusted adult volunteers, mentors, and millions of alums, Girl Scouts lead the way as they find their voices and make changes that affect the issues most important to them. To join us, volunteer, reconnect, or donate, visit girlscoutsofmaine.org. For the latest updates follow us on Facebook @GirlScoutsofMaine and Instagram @girlscoutsofmaine.