Today (Tuesday 10 October) is World Mental Health Day (#MHAD17). Girls’ Brigade Ministries is passionate about ensuring that every girl flourishes and has an opportunity to live life to the full.
What girls are telling us
Last month, new government research among 10,000 young people revealed that 1 in 4 14 year old girls are experiencing depressive symptoms including feelings of worthlessness, loneliness and feeling unloved. Unsurprisingly, these feelings were reported from a higher proportion of girls than boys suggesting that when girls reach puberty, they experience a gender-specific vulnerability. Read more here. GB recently appeared on around 10 local BBC radio stations providing a faith-based response to this research.
Our own GB members are telling us that issues like our culture’s strive for perfectionism, social media connectivity, unrealistic airbrushed images, gender stereotypes, and school pressures are impacting their mental well-being.
How can we support girls to thrive and flourish?
GB leaders shouldn’t underestimate the great job that they're already doing. Girls’ Brigade groups are safe environments for girls to explore faith and the issues that matter to them, as well as being invested in by older women. Through GB, girls are experiencing the life to the full that Jesus spoke about in John Ch.10:10.
Katie, one of our GB leaders, says ‘Girls' Brigade is the perfect foundation to raise the volume of hope for young girls in terms of how we approach mental health and well-being. GB helped me during one of the darkest periods of my life. GB can be so transformative; I know many leaders are supporting young people simply by asking about their day and being a source of support.’
Here’s four ways we can continue to turn up the volume of hope on mental health in GB groups:
On Wednesday, Girlguiding released its annual Girls’ Attitudes survey. The biggest survey of its kind in the UK, it asked the opinions of just under 2,000 girls and young women aged 7 to 21 (not just members of Girlguiding). As it gives us an insight about how girls feel about a range of issues, emerging pressures and what they need to support their happiness, wellbeing and opportunities in life, it’s important that we listen to their voices.
Leaders from 1st Yorkshire GB District recently enjoyed a retreat day in Bakewell, led by GBM’s Discipleship Co-ordinator Charlotte Hendy.
In January 2017 a group of members from the West London Gym team decided to form the West London Youth Network (WLYN) to enable the older members of GB and Boys’ Brigade (BB) to remain both involved and engaged despite moving on to university or work.Read more