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Bristol club supports women’s mental health

members of the bristol rebel girls club
members of the bristol rebel girls club Image credit: bbc.co.uk

A women’s group is helping members to protect their mental health and wellbeing after they believe their gender is becoming increasingly “competitive”.

The Bristol Rebel Girls Club runs regular meetings at All Hallows Hall in Easton and Spike Island which provide acting, group therapies, music and physical movement.

Founder Jessica Mercedes launched the project in February 2021 with her experience as a counsellor and yoga instructor.

She told BBC News: "I've seen some phenomenal transformations in people that I will never forget."

Ms Mercedes went on to highlight how lockdowns have had an impact on people’s mental health, especially for women.

"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."

Since the club opened its doors last year Mercedes says "beautiful friendships and connections have happened" with some members moving in together.

One of the many women who has benefitted from the club is musician Georgia Collins, 31, who contacted the Rebel Girls when she was recovering from cancer treatment.

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

"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, 34, turned to the club after she was struggling with lockdown, it was the first time she found herself struggling with mental health.

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

For more information visit the Rebel Girls Club Facebook page.