Sunday, November 12, 2017

Gold Award Spotlight: Mental Illness Through Art

Catherine, a Virginia Beach Girl Scout, has earned the Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouting.

For her project, Catherine organized an art exhibit at Princess Anne High School dedicated to art created by teens that reflect mental illness. She invited students at her school to create art pieces to represent personal experiences they have had with mental illness, how they feel about the issue and how they have watched their peers struggle.

At the art exhibit, guests viewed the art submissions, learned about mental health from a representative from the National Alliance on Mental Health and took part in stress relieving activities, including coloring. There was also a display made by a member of the Psychology Club at Princess Anne High School about the government’s impact on mental health and how to contact government officials about mental health issues.

“Mental health is a sensitive topic for many people to talk about, making it hard to verbalize how they feel,” Catherine said. “The art exhibit was an opportunity for students to express emotions they might feel when handling anything related to mental health.”

Catherine also created a video that she placed online to help inform people about what they can do to advocate for mental health, as well as an overview of the art exhibit she organized.

Catherine has arranged for members of the Psychology Club to host a mental health art exhibit on an annual basis. As a senior, Catherine will be leading efforts to hold next year’s event and show younger students how to host the event after she graduates.

The Gold Award requires girls to identify an issue in the community and carry out a Take Action project to address the matter through leadership work. Nationwide, less than six percent of eligible Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award, which adds Catherine to an elite group of female leaders across the country with the honor.