Mental Health & Wellness
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Start Strong: Set Your New Kindergartner on a Successful Path

Tuesday, August 11

11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

This year’s Kindergarteners will face new challenges and need a more robust social and emotional stamina. How do we ensure these students and their parents have the resources required to succeed? 

A panel of experts in education, mental health and well-being, social learning, and parenting will offer perspectives on how to help your child have the best start to their first year in school. The panel will be moderated by Shelly Slater with The Slate and be streamed live online.


Dr. Olga Hickman
Executive Officer
Bachman Lake Together
Elena S. Hill, Ed.D.
Asst. Superintendent, Early Learning
Dallas Independent School District
Aimee Herron-Troy
M.S. CCC-SLP, Head of
Charisma Virtual Social
Training, Center for BrainHealth
Brain Performance Institute, UTD
Jennifer Bartkowski
Chief Executive Officer
Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas
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Girl Scouts & Mental Health

Mental health issues among students of all ages, particularly girls, have been consistently on the rise. In 2017, depression rates were 13 percent higher for girls ages 12 to 17 than for their male classmates with signs of depression and anxiety, starting as young as age 6. With the onset and persistence of a global pandemic, girls face social isolation, disappointments, anxiety, and more serious mental health concerns.

Girl Scouts has always focused on helping girls thrive, whatever that means for the world she lives in. Her world today presents external and internal pressures that are complex, taking a greater toll on her mental health and ambition. 

The skills we develop to build confidence and leadership are the same skills that help her be mentally resilient. We’re here to equip her to take on these challenges and have the confidence to be her best self. As an expert in girls, we connect her with resources, peers, mentors, and partners that help equip her with:

  • A positive outlook — New programs and partners to help her address the most pressing challenges for girls today.
  • Approachable experts — Expert resources for mentors to know when something is wrong and how to support others.
  • Powerful connections — Initiatives that develop her empathy to help others.
  • Healthy habits — An enhanced curriculum that integrates mental wellness.
  • Strong sense of self — Tactics to help her discover and develop her sense of self.   

We can't do this alone. You can help ensure that our girls have the tools and resources they need by making a donation today. For more information, please contact Erin Fischer at

Connecting Girls to GSNETX Programs, Events

Okay to Say™ patch program — This program helps girls develop more significant social and emotional confidence, as they learn it is okay to talk about mental health. Through a series of hands-on activities, girls will become more considerate and caring Girl Scouts as they learn about the impact emotions and thoughts have on their own and others' behavior. Girl Scouts of all ages can earn this patch year-round. This program is held in partnership with Okay to Say™ and the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute.
Download the patch requirements.

In addition to the Okay to Say patch program, GSNETX hosts mental health- and wellness-focused events on topics of resilience, peer support, brain health, and overall wellness. Visit our events page to find engaging programs for girls, volunteers, parents, and entire families.


Upcoming Event
Grant Halliburton Presentation: Bounce Back
Thursday, August 6
6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Register for event.

Sometimes, the most challenging times in our lives teach us more about ourselves than the good times. Come to learn through interactive presentations on how to build your resilience for when life gets tough and to view adversity as an essential tool in your social and emotional development.

Mental Health Advisory Committee

  • Sheriff Marian Brown, Dallas County Sheriff’s Department
  • Christopher Crow, CEO, Stratify Health
  • Scott Flannery, CEO North Texas & Oklahoma, United Healthcare North Texas
  • Donna German, Community Leader
  • Kevin Hall, President, Grant Halliburton Foundation
  • Terry Bentley Hill, Attorney & Counselor at Law, The Law Office of Terry Bentley Hill
  • Jennifer Hughes, Psychologist, Center for Depression Research and Clinical Care, UT Southwestern Medical Center
  • Maria Johnson, Director, Youth & Family Innovations, Center for Brain Health, UTD
  • Charles Knight, Vice President, Pariveda Solutions
  • Robbi Luxbacher, Community Leader
  • Brandy Schumann, Ph.D., Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Dispute Resolution and Counseling, Southern Methodist University

Raising Awesome Girls

Parenting advice and resources for parents of daughters.