14 May 2021
The pandemic has had a huge impact on people’s mental health. Young people have particularly suffered due to a sustained time out of school and youth clubs, with youth workers and teachers remotely filling a void.
Over the last year we’ve adapted our programmes to focus on mental health and wellbeing, as the challenges young people already faced quickly intensified. Youth workers across our network were are clear about the need for support. There’s been ‘a number of young people, particularly young women experiencing mental health crisis’ with ‘a stark rise in young women requesting additional support’ and many of whom were ‘spiralling into the depths of depression and anxiety’.
Good for Girls is our new programme supported by DCMS. It supports Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic young women aged 10-14 to access relevant, holistic early intervention mental health support within their youth organisations.
Giving young women support earlier will mean fewer require referral to specialist services. The programme will work with 900 young women from London over 2 years, with 30 of our member youth and community organisations supporting 15 young women each year.
Good for Girls combines some of the most successful elements of our programmes and is the first fully cross-working project between our expert programme teams, merging sports, arts, and social action.
Good for Girls: at a glance
Over the course of the programme:
- All the young women will take part in weekly activities of sports and/or arts
- A smaller group of young women from each organisation will later design and deliver a social action project to promote wellbeing in their communities
- Two members of the same group will go onto being trained as wellbeing ambassadors at a residential weekend.
Through consultations with youth workers and young people, there is a clear need to have safe spaces to talk about mental health. When asked what kind of support they would like, young people mentioned “group sessions where people tell me I am not alone” and “having a safe space to talk to youth workers”. Good for Girls therefore uses a concept called Talking Circles where the youth workers are trained to facilitate discussions around emotional wellbeing with the young women in a safe, non-judgemental space.
With 75% of mental health problems becoming established by age 24, it’s vital to support young people at an early age. All too often, access to mental health support is limited.
Good for Girls offers and enhances existing support in trusted community spaces by providing the right training for youth workers. Each year a cohort of 30+ youth workers will receive a programme of high quality training to become Wellbeing Leads and embed positive mental health practices into their delivery.
Be part of Good for Girls
We’re excited to have kicked off delivery of Good for Girls with 30 inspirational youth organisations. Applications for Cohort 2 will be opening in Autumn 2021. Find out more about the programme here.
– Ella Porter, Programme Delivery Officer