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MENTAL HEALTH: MIND + BODY MATTERS

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Mental Health
Mind + Body Matters

Students learn how mind and body work together and how to reduce stress.

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At the end of 2021, the U.S. Surgeon General emphasized the pandemic’s devastating effects on adolescent girls. Depression and anxiety doubled, and emergency room visits for mental health issues increased. ER visits for suicide attempts rose 51% for adolescent girls in early 2021 compared to 2019, while rates increased by 4% for boys.

Our digitized mental health program, Mind + Body Matters, promotes awareness about the impact emotional trauma can have on the physical—as well as mental—well-being of girls, families, and communities. Mind + Body Matters teaches adolescent girls, especially girls of color, how to cope with the stressors in their daily lives and find inner peace through practices like meditation, movement, mindfulness, and journaling.

Facilitators teach research-based and trauma-informed concepts, while also adapting curriculum according to students’ cultural identities and socioeconomic backgrounds. The program breaks down stigma and misconceptions about mental health to create a safe environment for students to share and process their emotions and seek help if mental health challenges arise.

Aligned with New York State curriculum requirements for mental health, Mind + Body Matters covers:

  • Self-care and personal responsibility for mental health;

  • Interrelated physical and mental health signs and symptoms;

  • Suicide and self-harm prevention;

  • Relationship between mental health, substance abuse, and detrimental coping behaviors;

  • Cultural attitudes that impact whether people seek treatment;  

  • Recovery and guidance on how to identify helpful resources for treatment.

Highlights

  • In spring 2022, 61% of program participants reported lower stress levels at the end of the program, compared to before the program.

  • 43% of participants indicated they would access resources when in emotional distress.

  • Middle school students reported eating healthier and exercising more than before the pandemic.

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