Boys & Girls Club Blog

Bringing Awareness to Mental Health in May

May 5, 2022

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and there have been a variety of programs taking place to support emotional well-being at the Club.

For example, girls in the Quest program (grades 3-6) have been participating in a series of workshops based on the Dove Self-Esteem Project which promotes body confidence and self-esteem. Teens are also participating in a similar program which is being run by Ms. Menickalay, a social work intern at UW-Oshkosh. Through this program, Club members have been learning to challenge negative body talk along with developing skills to challenge unrealistic appearance ideals that are constantly being presented on social media. One of the ways in which club members have been learning these skills is through a game of “challenging negative body talk” bingo in which participants challenged body-shaming statements with positive, empowering statements. Not only did the girls say that they enjoyed this activity, but they also learned skills to boost self-esteem!

Other ways in which emotional well-being is supported at the Club is through weekly SEL (Social and Emotional Learning) activities along with small, targeted groups. There are currently a variety of small groups taking place in which members have been selected to learn skills such as healthy friendships, coping skills, and self-regulation. For teens, there is the option to participate in an LGBTQ+Ally group on Wednesday evenings. The group is a safe and inclusive space where youth are able to talk openly without fear of judgment while also feeling supported.

Lastly, our monthly Youth & Family Grief Support Group provides a comforting space in which youth and family members in bereavement know that they are not alone. An important component of coping with grief is being around others who are also grieving and can understand; this is especially true for children. Through a mix of talking and working on an activity, group members usually leave with a small project that they can take home with them. In March, the group did an activity that was based on the different emotions that can be experienced while grieving. Each group participant chose colors of sand to represent the feelings that described their grief journey and then filled heart-shaped jars with the sand that they chose.

All year round the Club plans weekly programming around age-specific social and emotional development. Programming covers topics such as self-awareness, relationship skills, self-management, responsible decision making and social awareness. We also provide individual skill development to members and are available on a drop-in basis for members who need a safe space to talk.

Note: We have space available for families in our Youth & Family Grief Support Group. If you, or someone you know could benefit from attending our group, please fill out our short questionnaire here – and a Grief Support Coordinator will be in contact.

Caitlyn Cheslock
Director of Social & Emotional Wellness