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Group launched to support teen girls through social challenges

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Rishèe Paschal, counselling team leader at Family Centre and cofacilitator for Girl Code, and Beatriz Aguiar, counselling intern and cofacilitator (Photograph supplied)

A pilot support group designed to empower teenage girls navigating the complex challenges of modern life has been launched.

Family Centre has space for nine girls aged between 14 and 16 to join Girl Code from July 22 to July 26 at its King Street location in Pembroke.

The peer group sessions will focus on relationships and self-esteem, while helping participants to identify, understand and manage intense emotions through healthy self-expression and the development of effective coping skills.

Additionally, the facilitators will explore decision-making techniques using problem-solving strategies.

While Family Centre has run support groups for girls in the past, this one is unique.

Beatriz Aguiar, counselling intern and Girl Code cofacilitator, explained: “Girl Code is special in that it focuses on self-esteem.

“Girls experience so much pressure on social media, their peers and society to look a certain way, do certain things and have experience in more adult-related content. It affects them socially and emotionally.

“The group seeks to provide them with education to make positive choices, hold on to the right personal morals and values, and seek to be authentically themselves.

“It offers positive support in times of hopelessness and gives them courage to say ‘no’ to peer pressure.

"We are focusing on big topics and we want to ensure each participant gets the support they need.“

Rishèe Paschal, counselling team leader at Family Centre and cofacilitator for Girl Code, said the idea for the peer group came out of the needs of young women faced with a myriad of challenges.

Ms Paschal said: “We looked at statistics from the Centre for [the US] Disease Control and Prevention. Youth risk show startling trends where 57 per cent of respondents said they felt persistently sad or hopeless. It’s the highest rate in a decade.

“Also, 30 per cent of the same girls had seriously considered dying by suicide, that figure has risen by 60 per cent in the past ten years.

“Additionally, the National Centre for Health Statistics and the CDC in 2017 reported that over half of US teens had had sexual intercourse by age 18 and this was noted among teen females aged 15 to 19, about 43 per cent of that population engaged sexually.

“Although they are not Bermuda stats, we know that what is happening in UK and US tends to mirror what is happening here.

“The mind of the prefrontal cortex to be able to problem solve is still developing at this age and they are making big choices.

“We saw the need to give them another lens to see these challenges through and to help with their decision making.”

Registration closes on July 17 and spaces are limited. Group sessions run from 11am to 3pm.

Anyone interested in registering for a place should contact a Family Centre screener by calling 232-1116.

A small fee will be requested to help with the cost of supplies included in the programme, but the programme is designed to remain affordable for all.

Some of the supplies provided in the Family Centre’s Girl Code peer group (Photograph supplied)

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Published July 08, 2024 at 7:55 am (Updated July 08, 2024 at 7:55 am)

Group launched to support teen girls through social challenges

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