Mental Health Foundation Chief Executive Judi Clements
The Mental Health Foundation has expressed its concern over the axing of funding to The Girls' Self Defence Project and is calling for funding to be reinstated.
The Girls' Self Defence Project, which has been running in schools across New Zealand for 15 years, has had a positive impact on the lives of more than 77,000 Kiwi girls.
Government funding for this project has been withdrawn despite the project consistently delivering positive results, with over 90% of girls participating saying that they felt stronger, more confident, and more educated in techniques to deal with unsafe situations.
"A number of high profile bullying incidents in New Zealand and Australia over recent weeks have placed bullying sharply into focus for the media and the public," says Judi Clements, Mental Health Foundation Chief Executive.
"And with many New Zealanders actively participating in the recent Pink Shirt Day, which raises awareness of bullying in our schools and communities, it is disheartening to see such an effective project under threat,", says Ms Clements.
"Building self-esteem and confidence in young girls has a positive effect on their ability to deal with difficult and challenging situations and contributes to resilience, all of which are protective factors for good mental health and wellbeing in our young people and in the population as a whole."
Ms Clements says given the positive benefits of this project, consideration should be given to reinstating the funding, which for such a relatively small financial investment, is achieving fantastic results.