In case you missed it, Girlguiding carried out some UK-wide research to find out what impact the pandemic has had on the mental wellbeing of young members across the UK. Here’s what girls in Scotland had to say…
Across the UK nearly 7,000 young members aged 5-18 took part in Girlguiding’s survey on the impact of COVID-19 on their lives and their wellbeing. 500 of these responses came from members based in Scotland, providing a window into the lives of our girls and young women and revealing a complex picture.
A third of girls surveyed in Scotland said lockdown is having a negative impact on their mental health and that they’re feeling more worried, stressed and lonely.The survey also identified schools and education are a big source of anxiety for girls and young women. 60% of girls said they missed seeing their friends and learning, and 81% of younger girls told us they missed their teachers. Nearly half of girls aged 11–18 said they find it hard to focus on their education during this time and have mixed feelings about learning from home.
While girls miss school, they also have concerns about health with 30% (aged 11–18) are worried about their own health and getting sick and many more (88%) are worried about other people getting sick.
Many girls said they’re taking steps to feel better and cope with the drastic changes to their daily lives. 94% of older girls aged 11-18 make sure they’re keeping in regular contact with family and friends, 86% are trying to relax, have fun and do different hobbies. 79% are doing physical activity when they can, and 58% said they’re not watching, reading or listening to news too much.
Members are continuing to spread kindness and make a difference in communities wherever they can. Most girls have taken part in the weekly clap for carers, 92% of younger girls aged 4-10 have put rainbows or posters in their windows and across the UK almost a third of older girls aged 15-18 said they’ve made a donation or fundraised for a charity.
We’ve also been working alongside our dedicated volunteers to support for girls, young women during these uncertain times. A lot of our volunteers have been holding online meetings, allowing girls to continue having fun with their unit, keep in touch with their friends and learn new skills.
Plus, our Guiding At Hame Challenge has been launched and it’s packed full of fun activities young people and adults can do at home. And our team of Scotland-based peer educators are now offering online Think Resilient sessions to help boost the mental wellbeing and build the resilience of Brownies, Guides and Rangers – find out more about booking a session here.
More girls from Rainbows to Rangers have also told us that they’re keen to make sure their voices are heard when it comes to future decisions being made that will affect them. Nearly all girls aged 11-18 in Scotland (89%) would like more information about what to expect in the future and when schools will reopen. And many have welcomed the action taken by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon who has made an effort to speak directly to children and young people about the ongoing crisis – they want to see more of this!
Here at Girlguiding Scotland we are proud to empower girls to feel good about themselves and find their voice and the pandemic has not and will not stop us continuing this work.