How Chrysalis After-School Helps with Mental Health

How Chrysalis After-School Helps with Mental Health

Starting Saturday, July 16, a new way to reach out for help became available for anyone struggling with mental health troubles by calling or texting 9-8-8. Similar to 9-1-1, these 3-digits are the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline that connects every caller with a trained mental health professional when they are in crisis or suicidal. Announced by the federal Department of Health and Human Services, the line is never busy, and no one is placed on hold. Help is immediate, making the connection easier for people to use.

Although we’ve known there is a higher occurrence of mental health problems for everyone over the past few years, a 2020 report from the Alliance for Women and Girls at Risk came out recently that presents alarming statistics around the dramatic increase of issues over the past 2 decades. For example, self-harm rates among girls and young women have tripled since 2000, and suicides have doubled over the past 7 years.

AAUW (American Association of University Women) also presented recent findings that prompt concern for all youth:

Rigid gender stereotypes contribute to increased depression, substance misuse and suicide. Half of children and youth with a mental health condition are not treated. Some of this is attributed to school performance pressure and anxiety, to social interactions and influences, including social media, appearance and body image pressures and harassment.

Schools are increasingly focusing on approaches considering the social-emotional needs and development of students as central to education, recognizing that mental and physical health relate to the ability to learn and thrive.

Facilitators and mentors involved in Chrysalis After-School (CAS) programs play a valuable role in helping girls through the challenges they face. Our training helps both facilitators and GirlPower peer mentors to encourage a “courage culture” – teaching girls to follow their passion, encourage them to think for themselves, providing opportunities to feel competent and effective, and teaching girls how to solve problems and overcome challenges. We call this “grit” or “resilience”.

We know that resilience alone doesn’t prevent mental health challenges including anxiety, stress, and depression. This is why Chrysalis provides training for CAS program leaders to support girls appropriately, as well as knowing when to intervene and connect girls to accessible mental health services the school counselor can provide. It’s a key piece of our longtime partnership with CAS facilitators, school administrators, and experts in the field who aid in reviewing and revising our curriculum.

We’ve continued to innovate and modify since we launched Chrysalis After-School in 1998, and we will continue to do so to ensure the success of girls and young women most effectively.