Bristol Rebel Girls Club Helps Women's Mental Health

Bristol Rebel Girls Club Helps Women's Mental Health
Posted on 1st October, 2022.

A mental health and wellbeing group has been "rewiring" women's brains against internalised misogyny through "the power of sisterhood".

The Bristol Rebel Girls Club helps women reconnect with each other in a world they say has become increasingly "competitive".

The women take part in music, acting, group therapies and physical movement.

Founder Jessica Mercedes said: "I've seen some phenomenal transformations in people that I will never forget."

Ms Mercedes set up the volunteer led group, which meets at All Hallows Hall in Easton and Spike Island, in February 2021 using her skills as a counsellor and yoga instructor.

She specialises in alternative healing and is a practicing health coach.

Jessica Wylie

Ms Mercedes said that spaces where women can come together, "take their masks off" and be completely authentic are important.

"The pandemic exacerbated loneliness, isolation and internalised misogyny," she said.

"A lack of connection and belonging through mental health stigma and body image insecurities have become even more prolific."

Through the group Ms Mercedes said "beautiful friendships and connections have happened". Some have even moved in together.

"That's the power of sisterhood."

Georgia Collins

Musician Georgia Collins, 31, turned to the group while in recovery following cancer treatment.

"Being in a space supported by women was really special," Ms Collins added.

"It helped me with all of the confidence and self esteem issues that come with having a serious illness. It felt like a giant hug.

"Women supporting women and empowering each other is quite a radical thing in the world at this time.

"It is heavily competitive and about not showing weakness. We found power in weakness."

Zoe Walden

For Zoe Walden, 34, the group was a safe place to turn as she struggled with the reality of lockdown.

She had never experienced any issues with her mental health previously, but said the pandemic "really affected" her.

"In a larger group of people I noticed I would go into myself," she said.

"I'd lost my confidence.

"Bristol Rebel Girls Club was a really supportive and safe female environment. You don't get to go into spaces like that all the time.

"It's one of the best things I've done in my whole life. I've realised who I am again."

Sophie Addison

Sophie Addison agrees.

She was off work with stress when she joined the group which she said helped her focus on her self care.

"I made some lifelong friends and I'm now more comfortable opening up to people and seeking support," she said.

"It's all been a breakthrough experience."

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