We could learn a lot from girls when it comes to supporting mental health

girl guide members
Chill. Relax. Get over it. It’s no big deal. Don’t stress about it.

Who hasn’t been given this kind of not-really-helpful-at-all advice when they’re struggling?

And we all struggle from time to time – it’s totally normal for some days to feel less like a bowl of cherries and more like a roller coaster. For girls and young women, everything from relationships, body image and school to changing family dynamics and the topsy turvy state of the world can make the roller coaster just that much more intense, resulting in a range of feelings and emotions.

Our own data tells us that there are plenty of challenges that test girls’ resilience. Two out of three girls feel pressure to conform to unrealistic standards about what it means to be a girl. And over half report that trying to meet social expectations about how they should look or act has negatively impacted their self-esteem.

How does this impact a girl’s mental health? Well, as the Canadian Mental Health association notes, low self-esteem can change the way you understand your value and worth. And, ultimately, a healthy body image and self-esteem are a big part of overall mental health and well-being.

“I wish grown-ups would let us talk about our feelings more. If we can talk and use emojis every day, then why not real things.” – 10-year-old Guide

Girls have told us that they know the importance of talking openly about mental health and that sometimes they don’t feel like the adults in their world feel comfortable about this. Girls themselves don’t shy away from talking about topics like mental health. They crave the opportunity to engage in meaningful and authentic conversations about what matters to them and what’s going on in their lives – the good, the bad and everything in between.

girl guide members

Girls in Guiding exemplify what a total powerhouse of support girls are for one another.

“I think every girl has had a moment in time where they haven’t been okay mentally, including me. Mental health is something that affects everyone, but it can be combated if we all come together and share our stories.”  – Andrea, Ranger

Girls want the tools to confidently navigate their world – no matter what kind of roller coaster ride they may be facing on any given day.  And they’ve shown through participating in Mighty Minds – Girl Guides of Canada’s mental health program – that they’re not going to shy away from talking about this topic or learning how they can take care of their own mental health and truly support those around them.

“Mighty Minds helps us learn about the myths of mental health – and empowers us to help break the stigma, develop resiliency and the confidence to discuss issues in a safe and inclusive environment.” – Hari, Ranger

Girls in Guiding exemplify what a total powerhouse of support girls are for one another. They share their stories. They listen to one another. They support one another. They talk openly about their roller coaster days. And when it comes to supporting every girl to be Everything she wants to be, girls having the opportunity to talk openly about their mental health is everything.

Share how your unit is participating in Mighty Minds with #GGCMightyMinds.

Thank you to Kids Help Phone and the Psychology Foundation of Canada for their support and assistance in the development of Mighty Minds.

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