Welcome to the Flex Your Head! Promoting mental health and wellness is an important part of everything that Boys and Girls Clubs do. Through fun, recreation, mentor-ship, leadership, and social engagement, clubs provide a safe and engaging environment in which children and youth can grow and thrive.
We know, however, that the adolescent years are challenging and stressful for young people and they may need to address mental health and wellness more directly. We know that youth are often disconnected from mental health services and supports, do not know how to think and talk about mental illness, and are worried about speaking honestly about their personal experiences and concerns because they do not want to be seen as “different”, “weird” or “someone with mental problems”. In fact, youth may not even think about their personal difficulties in terms of “mental health” – it may be a very unfamiliar concept.
Mental health difficulties experienced by youth are common. It is estimated that 70% of mental health illnesses have their onset in childhood and adolescence and that 10-20% of Canadian youth experience a mental illness. Approximately 5% of male youth and 12% of female youth experience a major depressive episode in their lives. Of concern to us all is that only 1 in 5 youth who experience mental health difficulties seek out and receive help.
Mental health challenges are experienced by us all. And for some of us, things can get so difficult that it has serious impact on our lives and happiness. The goal of Flex Your Head Program is to promote mental health and well-being among youth and provide them with useful strategies to prevent and manage distress. The Flex Your Head Program is designed to address mental health issues directly in the club in a way that is safe, engaging, inclusive, and fun. It is also strongly informed by current theory and practice in effective youth mental health intervention.
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