Current lockdown having greater impact on girls’ wellbeing, Girlguiding says
Tuesday, February 16, 2021
The current national lockdown is having a more negative impact on the mental health of older teenage girls compared with when restrictions were first introduced last March, new research reveals.
A study of 1,900 girls by Girlguiding found that more than half of girls aged 15 to 18 reported feeling more overwhelmed and anxious than during the first lockdown.
Three quarters of this age group say the pandemic has had a negative impact on their mental health, an increase of a third compared with the first national lockdown.
Across all ages from four to 18, girls reported feeling more lonely (42 per cent), sad (43 per cent), anxious and worried (44 per cent) now compared with when restrictions were introduced last March.
A further seven in 10 girls said they were feeling more fed-up.
Almost three in five girls (58 per cent) admit to finding home schooling harder and more stressful now while 64 per cent of 15– to 18-year-olds are worried about falling behind in their schoolwork and 66 per cent are worried about how cancelled exams will affect their future opportunities.
Meanwhile, almost half (47 per cent) of girls asked said being part of Girlguiding had helped their mental health and wellbeing during the pandemic.
Virtual weekly meetings have offered girls access to activities that help them to have fun, see friends and have a space to be together, give them something to look forward to and feel part of something that brings people together, the research finds.
However, 93 per cent of older girls shared concerns over the future of youth groups and organisations like Girlguiding and said “government should ensure there’s support for youth clubs and groups that are helping young people during this time”.
Some 79 per cent of 15- to 18-year-olds said they do not think that the government has listened enough to them throughout the pandemic and 91 per cent want their voices heard as part of the recovery on decisions that will affect them.
Angela Salt, chief executive of Girlguiding, said: “Young women are keen to have their voices heard, so it is vital that government listen to their concerns on decisions that will affect them, whilst also providing support for the youth clubs and groups that are playing an invaluable role helping young people at this time. We can’t wait to get back to offering girls and young women outdoor adventures as soon as restrictions allow.”