KAWARTHA LAKES: Boys & Girls Clubs of Kawartha Lakes Flex Your Head program will be jointly funded by NJ5 and Ward’s Legal. Donations from NJ5 - $2500/year for 5 years and from Ward’s Legal of $2000/year for 3 years will enable the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kawartha Lakes to provide mental health supports for local youth for the next 5 years.
NJ5 was founded by Maggie Jewell to honour her son, Nolan, who died by suicide in 2012 at the age of 19. He was an athlete and his jersey number was 5. For friends and family of Nolan, healing comes through carrying on his charitable works, which is why they have created NJ5.
Flex Your Head is a program created by Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada and Astra Zeneca, designed to promote mental health and resiliency among youth. Flex Your Head groups have been run both in The Club and at local High Schools.
The goals of Flex Your Head are as follows:
To create awareness and enhance understanding of mental health and mental illness among youth members.
To help youth develop strategies to cope with stress.
To promote healthy relationships and understand the relationship between thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
To help youth translate their understanding of mental health into positive, anti-stigma attitudes and actions in their schools, clubs and communities.
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 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.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of Kawartha Lakes
Boys and Girls Clubs of Kawartha Lakes is one of the areas largest and most diverse child and youth serving organizations. Established in 1970, the Club provides summer camps, before and after school programs, early learning, licensed child care, child and youth counselling, infant development, sports, recreation and adventure programs in ten local communities. Clubs currently serve over 8,000 children, youth and their families through services that foster self-esteem, build skills and develop character. Most importantly, Clubs remove financial barriers to participation by keeping program costs affordable and subsidizing all of its programs for families who can’t afford to pay. At our Clubs, children and youth learn to become valuable members of their communities.
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