Girl Guides are getting a new badge for talking about mental health
Girlguiding has a long track record in the UK when it comes to teaching girls and young women useful skills ranging from camping and personal safety to science, first aid, cookery and crafts. Once Girl Guides have a new skill under their belt, they earn badges which can be sewn onto clothing or a camp blanket
Now, Girl Guides will have a new badge to earn. Girlguiding has launched a new badge programme to give girls an opportunity to talk about their mental wellbeing and resilience
The new programme, called Think Resilient, was created following requests from Girl Guides with the aim of breaking down the stigma surrounding the topic of mental health and wellbeing and to encourage more open and supportive conversations.
Young women in guiding aged between 14 and 25 who are trained to talk to their peers and younger girls about things like body confidence and healthy relationships — called ‘peer educators’ — will manage the programme.
Girl Guides will take part in sessions designed to teach girls about resilience and techniques for positive thinking, as well as helping them identify their support networks. Peer educators will also use interactive activities to help girls find positive ways of dealing with pressures and challenges in their lives.
Activities include learning self-calming techniques and responding to “agony aunt” letters (notes modeled after advice columnists) by breaking problems down into small, solvable steps.
The move comes after Girlguiding research in 2015 found that 82% of girls aged 11 to 21 feel that adults don’t recognise the pressure that young people are under, and 66% of girls aged 17 to 21 feel that mental health is awkward to talk about. The research was based on a survey of 1,574 respondents.
According to mental health charity Young Minds, one in 10 children and young people aged between 5 and 16 suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder, and nearly 80,000 children and young people suffer from severe depression.
Girlguiding’s chief guide, Gill Slocombe, said in a statement:
“Girlguiding listens to girls and we’ve created this inspiring new resource as a direct response to what girls told us they need. I’m very proud of the young women in guiding involved in developing this programme that will have such a hugely positive impact on thousands of their peers across the UK.”