Girl Scout Earns Gold Award
by Creating Helpful Program
Mental Health Matters
Your name(s): Breona Pizzuta
School: Cranford High School
Girl Scout Service Unit 48 Troop 40814
My Gold Award addressed this issue:
My Gold Award aims to address the issues of mental health in adolescents, specifically teenagers, at school. My general focus was student stressors and pressures that lead to negative feelings and declining mental health. I have helped students build coping mechanisms and resilience. I researched and learned that untreated depression is the number one cause of suicide. I created a program, website and curriculum that has been passed on to other schools with helpful techniques and lessons that have been proven beneficial by mental help professionals such as counselors and researchers. This has helped students have fewer negative thoughts and taught them positive ways to manage their stress.
The root cause of the issue my Gold Award addressed was:
The root cause of my issue is the workload, competition, and pressure to be a successful student at school, along with the pressure of society and the world presented through social media and news outlets. I noticed that the academies in my school that cause the most stress and have the most pressure do not address the issues of mental health, or offer any programs that have to do with mental health. Even in general at my school, there are no mental health student-led programs offered. According to The Center For Health and Health Care in Schools, only 16 percent of young adults receive mental health services. I see this is a very big issue, especially because suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth ages 12-18 and people ages 10-24 according to the Centers for Disease Control.
I addressed the root cause of the issue by:
I addressed the root cause of my issue by creating a program called Mental Health Matters. I organized and ran this program once a month for six months at school during lunch. I researched and developed a curriculum for this program. Each week the meetings opened and closed with pre and post questionnaires to track what the students learned and gained from my lessons. Each lesson also included a discussion about the topic I was presenting about along with a hands-on activity or craft. This curriculum has been passed on to other schools through my website, bpgold.github.io with lessons, helpful techniques and activities proven beneficial by mental help professionals. I developed and designed this website all from scratch using my skills in HTML and CSS. The site includes information about the program, mental health statistics and resources. The website can be viewed by using the link: bpgold.github.io.
My target audience was:
High School Students
My Gold Award will be sustained beyond my involvement by:
My Gold Award is sustainable beyond my involvement through the development of the Mental Health Matters curriculum and website. The counselors at my school will help a younger student take over and lead the program next year. The curriculum will also be displayed in the school counseling office, the high school website here and the counseling website. The curriculum will also be sent to other local schools to use to benefit them in any way that they please. The curriculum is easily adaptable and replicate-able for others to run the program.
My Gold Award’s national and/or global link was:
I identified that negative mental health of adolescents in school is a huge problem in my town as well as in the United States. I learned that about 5,400 teenagers commit suicide each year. I focused on student stressors and pressures in school, society, and the media. I helped students build coping mechanisms and resilience through a stress relief curriculum I produced. The curriculum included a variety of helpful techniques and lessons that have been proven beneficial by mental help professionals. The curriculum is available at all times in my schools’ counseling office, the district website, the high school website and the counseling website. It will also be provided to local high schools and any groups that find it beneficial to their students. I have sent it to other schools nearby as well as having my counselors share it at meetings, conferences, and more. This way, other schools can adapt my program and run it in a similar way. This will help build awareness of the idea of mental health and ways to positively deal with stress.
The most successful part of my project was:
The most successful part of my project was the development of the program and curriculum. The students greatly enjoyed our meetings and the activities that I had planned. I feel that it was the most successful part because after each meeting students reported that they learned something. I also had multiple students come back weeks later to tell me that they had tried a mindful practice or time management strategy that I had taught them and that it had worked and had helped them.
Mrs. Gayle Colucci
District Culture and Climate Coordinator at Cranford High School (retired June 2023)
It has been my pleasure to provide guidance to Breona, she truly did all of the work. Breona is a delight to work with, she has such an amazing work ethic and her enthusiasm for this project has been amazing.
Mr. Richard Bell
Computer Science teacher at Cranford High School
I have had the pleasure of watching Breona’s Gold project grow from its infancy to where it is now. Her hard work and dedication to helping others grew with the development of the features and content of her site. I am very proud of what Breona has accomplished with this endeavor.
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