Girl Scouts of Silver Sage to hold virtual mental health summit for teens

Teen girls are feeling added stress about their safety, about their education and about their futures because of the pandemic.

While most girls feel supported to talk about their mental health with family or friends, only about a third say they feel their personal mental health is supported at school and less than half think their school has adequate resources to support mental health.

Those are some of the findings of a mid-pandemic survey the Girl Scouts Research Institute conducted around mental health last fall. The survey asked 334 high school-aged scouts about their levels of stress and anxiety, their relationship with social media and access to mental health supports.

  • 62 percent worried their school reopening plans might not be safe.
  • 36 percent didn’t think they’d receive a high quality education because of remote learning.
  • 84 percent of girls were stressed about how the pandemic would affect their college, internship and job opportunities.

These stressors are in addition to an already serious landscape for youth mental health. Rates of depression, self-harm and suicide have increased among teen girls and boys since 2010. Idaho has one of the highest suicide rates in the nation.

Teen leaders from Girl Scouts of Silver Sage want to break down the stigma around mental health. A teen advisory committee is hosting a workshop for girls in grades 9-12 this Friday, where teens can ask expert panelists questions about mental health and learn tools to support themselves and their friends. The event is open to Girl Scout members and non-members. It runs from 5 – 6:30 p.m, Friday, and includes a $5 registration fee. Register and find more information here.

“We’re hoping it’ll be kind of a bonding and community event where girls can learn more about mental health and feel supported in their mental health struggles,” said McKinley Kirk, a senior at Boise High school and one of the Girl Scout organizers of the event.

State looks for summer partners to get free food to kids

The State Department of Education is looking for partners to help run the Summer Food Service Program in the summer of 2021. The annual program helps deliver free food to children ages 1-18 who might not have access to healthy meals while school is not in session. Partners, or “sponsors” can include:

  • Public or private nonprofit schools or camps
  • Local, county, municipal and tribal governments
  • Public or private nonprofit universities that participate in the National Youth Sports Program
  • Upward Bound programs
  • Religious organizations, libraries and private nonprofits

The partners must complete a virtual training with the state’s child nutrition programs and submit an application by April 30, 2021. Meals have to be served according to standards laid out by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

For more information on becoming a sponsor or feeding site, call (208) 332-6828 or visit the Summer Food Service Program website.

“Imagine Idaho” coalition looks to increase broadband access

Forty education, community, business and healthcare organizations in Idaho have formed a coalition to increase broadband access throughout the state. The campaign Imagine Idaho aims to raise awareness of the importance of providing all Idahoans access to reliable broadband internet.

“The benefits of broadband internet services throughout Idaho open the state employment opportunities, education opportunities, access to telehealth and the ability to retain Idaho’s younger residents,” the group said in a news release. “Imagine Idaho’s ultimate goal is to increase broadband access that allows all Idahoans to live, learn and work anywhere in our great state.”

The coalition includes the Idaho Association of Counties, economic development groups, elected officials and some education organizations like the College of Western Idaho and the College of Eastern Idaho.

To read more about their advocacy work, click here.

Sami Edge

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