Kick-start your Personal Wellness Journey towards a Clearer Mind and Kinder Heart
The 4-H Healthy Living Mental Wellness Pathway provides multiple opportunities for participants to explore different areas of mental health. Whether your interest is in mental illness and risk factors, social emotional learning, or ways to practice self-care, we'll explore these areas within a safe and supportive learning environment.
Ever find yourself noticing human behaviors? Or maybe you can relate to the emotions of just about anyone or anything, but don't yet understand the empathetic superpowers within your possession or even what it means to be "empathetic." Or maybe, the pandemic has taken a toll on your mental health and you're looking for fun and creative ways to practice self-care. If you found yourself identifying with one or more of these areas, then the activities within this pathway are a perfect place to start.
Where can this pathway lead you?
The Mental Wellness pathway serves as an introduction to several different career fields. Whether it's directly within the mental health field as a therapist, counselor or psychologist, or promoting self-care in an educational setting, this pathway presents several opportunities to explore the many different directions it can take you. Here are a few examples:
- Study psychology, counseling, or health education in college
- Get involved with research projects that spread knowledge to the public
- Support mental health by educating and spreading awareness about mental illness within your community
- Become a school counselor or health educator and inspire the next generation
- Become a Wellness Ambassador and connect people to important resources that will support their mental health
Mental health is a significant issue for young people in the U.S. with teens calling for more openness on mental health issues. The National 4-H Council created the 4-H Youth Mental Health Survey Toolkit to explore teens’ perceptions and experiences around mental health. The survey was conducted online from May 4 to May 14, 2020 and polled over 1,500 diverse youth, ages 13-19 nationwide. It explored the role of resilience in mental health along with gathering youth perspectives on the state of mental health issues in their community and the nation.
4-H Mindfulness Retreat
The Mindfulness Retreat is a one-day event targeting youth who’ve completed grades 8to 12, with adult family members welcome to participate as well. The retreat is designed to teach participants about the benefits of mindfulness, provide opportunities for mindful practices, and help them integrate these practices into their daily lives.
4-H Teen Conference
The 4-H Teen Conference is held annually at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. It is open to any teen ages 14-18 that have graduated 8th grade. This conference includes 4 days on campus, 3 workshop sessions, 1 dance, 1 field trip, and a half-day service-learning project to combat food insecurity in NH. Teens experience dorm-living, a BBQ on the Upper Quad, and a final night banquet in Portsmouth, NH. Educators in the Mental Wellness Pathway present at this event focusing on the importance of communication when it comes to expressing your social and emotional needs.
The Science Bonanza is an annual event held in Manchester, NH, where youth are invited to explore the many facets of hands-on science and learning. Educators in the Mental Wellness Pathway host sessions at this event, for example, Fight, Flight, Freeze, or Fawn: The Science of Fear.
National 4-H Summit for Healthy Living
The National 4-H Summit for Healthy Living is a pioneer in the National Youth Summit Series, bringing together teen health leaders from across the country to focus on learning about and solving healthy living issues impacting our homes, our community and our economy. Designed for grades 9 through 12, the Summit provides the opportunity to develop the knowledge and skills to address today’s issues facing nutrition education, physical fitness, wellness and emotional well-being.
Local Program Opportunities
- Activities to practice mindful skills and reflect on how to incorporate them into your daily life.
- Topics include mindful practices (e.g., yoga, meditation, breathing), emotion regulation, and stress management, including self-care and self-calming techniques.
- Teens are introduced to a variety of mental health topics such as how to define anxiety and depression.
- Participants reflect on their own thinking and feeling and identify areas of strength.
- They learn the importance of self-care and why it is important to overall well-being.
- The Heads In, Hearts In Mindfulness program encourages families to use their minds by putting their “heads in”, as a tool to expand their knowledge around a variety of topic areas. By creating a shared educational experience, the family unit works, grows and learns together, putting their “hearts in” to the process.