With Children’s Mental Health Week, 5-7 February, highlighting unprecedented mental health issues among young people - Rites for Girls, a non-profit with a proven track record for transforming the mental wellbeing of girls – extends its life-changing programmes
- 5 new programmes launching in Sussex in Spring 2024 will offer fully funded places to harder to reach girls. Groups will run in Bognor Regis, Forest Row, Horsham and Lewes alongside other national locations.
- Launching a new Facilitator Training in June 2024, Rites for Girls calls for women to help lead its growing movement for social change
As this week’s Children’s Mental Health Week, 5-11 February, highlights the escalating mental health crisis facing young people – Rites for Girls CIC, a UK non-profit based in Sussex and working to alleviate the suffering and distress of preteen and teenage girls – extends its outreach and invites women across Britain to train to facilitate its expanding programmes.
Kim McCabe, Founder-Director of Rites for Girls and author of From Daughter to Woman: Parenting girls safely through their teens, says: “We have seen a dramatic rise in self-harming, eating disorders, panic attacks and school-refusing among girls at increasingly young ages since the onset of the pandemic, and yet there is a concerning lack of effective government support and school resources available in Britain to support these young people.
“The need for solutions to this crisis has never been more urgent. Thanks to funding from the National Lottery Community Fund awarded in recognition of the effectiveness of our work generating high levels of mental wellbeing for girls in communities across the country, we are now able to offer fully-funded bursary places on our flagship Girls Journeying Together programmes to girls with otherwise limited access. And during Children’s Mental Health Week, with its message ‘Your Voice Matters’ – the core tenet of our work with the girls - we are eager to spread the word that we’re making our programmes accessible to as many girls as possible.”
While the NHS 'Mental Health of Children and Young People, 2023' report concluded that 20.3% of eight to 16-year-olds had a probable mental disorder in 2023 - research from UCL Centre for Longitudinal Studies (November 2020) showed higher levels of psychological distress among girls and highlighted a sharp rise in the numbers of girls self-harming and suffering from clinical depression during the pandemic, from 1 in 4 to 1 in 3.
Rites for Girls’ mission is to change the world one girl at a time, by making the lives of girls safer, kinder and better supported. Since its inception in 2011, the CIC has welcomed more than 1,000 girls aged eight-18yrs to its programmes and feedback from the girls is overwhelmingly positive, with responses to a recent survey showing that 97% feel better about the future; 96% saying they now know how to take better care of themselves and 98% would recommend the programme to other girls.
With a focus on enhancing the mental wellbeing of girls preventatively, Girls Journeying Together groups (GJT) offer a year of in-person monthly support for preteen girls, aged 10-12 (and their mothers via mothers’ circles), supporting their transition from primary to secondary school, as they practice being true to themselves, learn about puberty, share their hopes and fears, and help each other into their teens.
With funding now in place to offer hundreds of fully-funded bursary places over the next three years, Rites for Girls is rolling out 10 new programmes across the UK in March and April 2024, with more scheduled throughout the year, enabling many more girls to access the programme.
Kim McCabe says: “As our programmes expand exponentially, we are calling for more women to train as facilitators to support our budding movement for social change. Beginning in June 2024, our next two-year Facilitator Training is an extraordinary opportunity to bring meaning and purpose into your life as you learn to support girls to journey safely through adolescence and emerge as strong, capable young women, equipped to remain true to themselves and to express themselves freely in the face of the many pressures confronting them from peers, social media, cyber bullying, and society at large.”
Feedback from participants of the Facilitator Training, who are now leading GJT groups, demonstrates its capacity to enrich and transform the lives of women and girls. “The training highlighted how much this work is needed - it's something to do if you really want to make a difference to the lives of girls and their mothers in your local community,” says Sophie Beaupain, who has been offering groups in Wimbleodon since 2019.. “As a mother I think this work is so important for girls," says Maggie Rivron, who prepares to lead a group near Hereford, beginning in March. “It’s helped me to be a better mother, and I can see how it really helped the girls. All girls need this, I really feel that. It needs to grow, It needs to get out there.”
Charlotte Sarre, a facilitator from south-east London, says: “If there is any part of you that sees yourself doing this work, then do it. It’s priceless.”