Learning About Mental Health | Boys & Girls Clubs Of Ada County

Written by: Taylor Prine

One in five people in the U.S. struggle with a mental illness. There are many misconceptions about these people and the problems they struggle with. Many of our club members either face these challenges themselves or have caregivers that do. Idaho Youth M.O.V.E is an advocacy group who strive to destigmatize mental health. The group is made up of high school students from the Boise district. These students came in on December 9, 2016 and led our members in several group activities that focused on helping them understand that many people struggle with mental health issues and what that might feel like.

Idaho Youth M.O.V.E. taught our Club kids that having a mental health issue isn’t bad and that it can be challenging. One of the activities that really seemed to have an impact on those who participated was one in which the children were asked to step on a piece of paper. They were then not able to lift their foot off the paper and only drag it as they walked around the room. They then did the same thing but with the other foot. One by one they lost one of their physical abilities. The children realized that if we are not able to use all of our abilities it makes everyday activities more difficult.  This helped illustrate what it might be like for someone with a mental health issue who might struggle with daily routines and tasks.  At the end of the session with Idaho Youth M.O.V.E all the children were given t-shirts, made by one of the Idaho Youth M.O.V.E members, with a cartoon illustrated mental illness such as ADD or depression on it.