We've launched a new badge programme to promote girls' mental health

15 March 2016

Today, we launch a new badge programme giving girls a vital space to talk about their mental wellbeing and resilience

Think Resilient was created following requests from girls, developed by young women in guiding, and will be delivered in a supportive peer environment.

Girlguiding members want to break down stigma around mental health and wellbeing and promote open and supportive conversations.

Developed by Girlguiding with support from youth mental health experts YoungMinds, Think Resilient uses interactive activities to help girls find positive ways of dealing with pressures and challenges in their lives.

It will be delivered by Girlguiding’s Peer Educators – young women in guiding aged 14 to 25 trained to talk to their peers and younger girls about sensitive and relevant issues such as body confidence and healthy relationships.

The resource comes after the latest Girlguiding research revealed the dire state of UK girls’ mental wellbeing. Findings from Girlguiding’s 2015 Girls' Attitudes Survey revealed:

  • 62 per cent of girls aged 11 to 21 know a girl or young woman who has experienced a mental health problem
  • Almost half of girls aged 17 to 21 (46 per cent) have personally needed help with their mental health
  • Two thirds of girls aged 17 to 21 (66 per cent) say mental health is awkward to talk about
  • 82 per cent of girls aged 11 to 21 feel that adults don’t recognise the pressure that young people are under.

Girlguiding is committed to researching and responding to the key issues affecting girls today and Think Resilient is the latest addition to Girlguiding’s award winning Peer Education programme – following inspiring body confidence badge Free Being Me, launched in 2014.  

The charity’s 600 Peer Educators will run sessions for girls aged 7 to 25 in guiding groups across the UK, including Brownies (girls aged 7 to 10), Guides (10 to 14) and The Senior Section (14 to 25).

The sessions will help girls to understand what resilience means, introduce techniques for positive thinking, celebrate their strengths and achievements, and identify their support networks.

Sessions will be run in a fun and interactive way, with activities tailored to different age groups. Activities include learning self-calming techniques and responding to ‘agony aunt’ letters by breaking problems down into small, solvable steps.

Girlguiding Peer Educator Zoe Dowler, 24, said: 'I’m really proud of this new Girlguiding resource and my part in developing it, because I know low mental wellbeing is a major issue affecting the daily lives and ambitions of lots of young women my age.

'Many girls feel there is a stigma attached to talking openly about their mental wellbeing. I hope this resource will help to change that, giving girls the positive and practical solutions they need to build resilience and a safe space to share what’s on their mind.'

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 - Girlguiding’s Chief Guide, Gill Slocombe

Girlguiding Chief Executive, Julie Bentley, said: 'Girlguiding is committed to researching and responding to the key issues affecting girls and young women today. Our research has found that girls are struggling with their mental health, and yet often feel adults are out of touch with the pressures they face.

'It’s vital girls find the right support they need to talk about serious issues affecting their lives, which is why Girlguiding champions peer education, and the safe, supportive and inclusive environment it offers girls to discuss important matters with their peers.'

Sarah Brennan, CEO of Young Minds, said: 'We are delighted to have been involved in the creation of this really important resource for Girlguiding. Children and young people face numerous pressures as they grow up including family breakdown, stress at school, 24/7 online culture, body image issues, early sexualisation, bullying on and offline and uncertain futures when leaving school.

'Girls face particular pressures which can completely knock their self-esteem and lead to mental health problems. Therefore it’s vital that we help them to build their resilience to navigate the world they are growing up in today.

'Peer to peer is a really powerful and effective way to educate, and we are really proud to have been a central part of creating this pathway to help girls and young women build their emotional strength and resilience.'