As Children’s Mental Health Week, 5-11 February, spotlights the need for urgent change and effective solutions for our youth mental health crisis, Kim McCabe – Founder-Director of Rites for Girls CIC – a non-profit supporting/preparing girls to journey safely through their teens – shares inspiration for how we can all play our part in changing the world

 What distresses you about the way the world is at the moment?

Could some small part of your life be devoted to changing this?

Years ago, when I was pregnant for the first time, I found myself weeping at every news broadcast, raging against this world I was bringing a new life into, and feeling depressed by it all.  So, I stopped engaging.  It was too painful, and I felt powerless.  Then I gave birth to a girl and my head snapped up.  “I must change the world for this child – growing up cannot be for her how it was for me.”  So, I sought out meaningful work and Rites for Girls was born, with the mission to change the world – one girl at a time.

 We can all change the world. So here are seven ways to be the change you want to see:

  1. Play your part – take care of your corner of the world.

We can all make a difference to someone or something.  Think of something small and simple that you could do this week.  And smile at someone today.

  1. Want things to be different? Do something different.

If we all carry on as we are, nothing will change.  What can you do differently that would make a difference?  Open the window right now and breathe deeply for a full minute while pondering what you could do differently…

  1. Don’t underestimate the power of a small change.

Think ripples from a small pebble dropped into a great lake, or the domino effect.  Every small improvement is a stepping stone into a better future.

  1. What comes naturally to you? Do it more.

Play to your strengths, bring to this life the best of what you can offer.  Change doesn’t have to be hard, it can be joy-filled too.

  1. Cushion yourself from paralysing overwhelm – limit your exposure to the news.
    Dream instead. Everything good started with somebody’s dream.  Dreaming is as serious a pastime as keeping up with current affairs. 
  1. Connect with others – be a part of something bigger.
    Not only will you be able to do more than you can alone, but it will give you a sense of belonging. Who’s already doing something that’s making the changes you want to see?
  1. Play small, feel powerless. Step up, feel empowered.
    It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.  Your opinions, your voice, and what you care about matters.  Your holding back doesn’t serve anyone and feels horrible.  Daring to show up feels good.

 And finally, if you do nothing else, do this!  As adults we can take care of the future by giving our attention to the next generation.  Take notice of the younger ones around you, spare them a moment of your time.  Most adults can remember someone who did something or said something to them as a child that made a real difference.  Be that adult in at least one young person’s life today.

Kim McCabe is the Founder-Director of Rites for Girls, an educational CIC working to alleviate the suffering and distress of pre-teen and teenage girls. The CIC trains and supports women to facilitate its life-changing programmes for girls and women in their communities.

 For women interested in helping transform the mental wellbeing of pre-teen and teenage girls, Rites for Girls’ next Facilitator Training, starting June 2024, provides a unique opportunity to bring meaning and purpose into your life by learning to support girls to journey safely through adolescence. More information: