Mental Health

Contact us at 888.747.6945 or to find out how to refer the Girl Scout and her parent/guardian to school experts or community experts. Ask to speak with council staff, who can listen to your concerns and advise you on the next steps. Share your concern with the girl’s family, if feasible.

Other recommended resources include:
United Way’s 211 website or call the 211 hotline to speak with a live person who can help.
The Suicide and Crisis Lifeline or call, text, or chat 988 to speak to a counselor.

GSNWGL hosts Youth Mental Health First Aid training and certification course. Search the Events calendar for upcoming trainings.

Mental Health and Safety

As an adult volunteer overseeing the activities and behaviors of young girls, and similar to child abuse, you may witness other signs of harmful tendencies such as self-harm. Self-harm can be physical, such as cutting, burning, bruising, excessive scratching, hair pulling, poisoning, or drug use. Other tendencies of self-harm are suicidal ideations that can be expressed verbally or with the written word. Another harmful expression involves harm to others which can be detected verbally or with physical aggression. If a situation of this nature is observed or comes to your attention in any form, always notify an appropriate council staff member immediately and follow your council guidelines with respect to the next steps. The CDC provides informative guidance around identifying and responding to harmful behaviors: Self-Directed Violence and Other Forms of Self-Injury and a section on at-risk youth Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Youth at Risk.

From the Standard Safety Guidelines in Safety Activity Checkpoints. See the entire chapter on Overall, Health, Well Being, and Inclusivity.

Report Concerns at Girl Scouts

There may be times when you worry about the health and well-being of girls in your group. Alcohol, drugs, sex, bullying, abuse, depression, and eating disorders are some of the issues girls may encounter. You are on the frontlines of girls’ lives, which places you in a unique position to identify a situation in which a girl may need help. If you believe a girl is at risk of hurting herself or others, your role is to promptly bring that information to her parent/caregiver or the council so she can get the expert assistance she needs. Your concern about a girl’s well-being and safety is taken seriously, and your council will guide you in addressing these concerns.

Here are a few signs that could indicate a girl needs expert help:

  • Marked changes in behavior or personality (for example, unusual moodiness, aggressiveness, or sensitivity).
  • Declining academic performance and/or inability to concentrate.
  • Withdrawal from school, family activities, or friendships.
  • Fatigue, apathy, or loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities.
  • Sleep disturbances.
  • Increased secretiveness.
  • Deterioration in appearance and personal hygiene.
  • Eating extremes, unexplained weight loss, distorted body image.
  • A tendency toward perfectionism.
  • Giving away prized possessions; preoccupation with the subject of death.
  • Unexplained injuries such as bruises, burns, or fractures.
  • Avoidance of eye contact or physical contact.
  • Excessive fearfulness or distrust of adults.
  • Abusive behavior toward other children, especially younger ones.

From the Report Concerns section in Volunteer Essentials. See the entire chapter on Creating a Safe Space.