The mission of Mental Fitness is to build resilience in youth through evidence-based programs.
We collaborate with national experts in medicine, nutrition and mental health to bring together (and create new) evidence-based programs that improve and measure the seven protective categories of mental fitness; community connections (school climate), social-emotional skills, media literacy, mindfulness, body image, stress-management and dietetics.
For twelve years, our arts-based initiatives have provided a safe, unique and interactive launching point for discussion of complex mental health issues that face kids from all communities and backgrounds. Our goal is to build the shared protective factors and enhance mental fitness in all youth. View our 2017 Annual Report, here.
We specialize in live and online professional development trainings as well as “prevention” programs for students. Since our inception in 2006 as NORMAL In Schools, based on PRETTY TO THE BONE rock musical, our array of programs have been presented in diverse, socio-economic communities; including middle schools, high schools, universities, medical, educational and arts festivals worldwide. In 2013 we changed our name and our focus to building overall health and resilience in youth. Since inception, our programs have been measured and rolled out in collaboration with scientific practitioners and researchers. A few publications are outlined below.
- Our “How to Manage Serious Mental Illness and Eating Disorders” program was published in Eating Disorders: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention in 2017.
- Our ThinkEatPlay program Director, Karen Sossin, and advisory board worked together on the following study:
- Kroshus, E., Sherman, R.T., Thompson, R.A., Sossin, K., & Austin, S.B. (2014). Gender differences in high school coaches’ knowledge, attitudes and communication about the female athlete triad. Eating Disorders, 22, 193-208.
- In 2017-18 we are collaborating with research teams on our Flourish peer-led resilience and on our 5 Minute Mindfulness programs. We are grateful to be working in collaboration with many partners, including:
- District 7 Schools, Spartanburg
- Meeting Street Academy, Spartanburg
- Spartanburg Day School
- Whitlock Learning Center, Spartanburg
- Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) clinical psychology and public health researchers
- Drs. Christina Anderson and Kyle Holody, Coastal Carolina University
- Dr. Mark Flynn, Emmanuel College, Boston