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A study on the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on adolescent mothers shows that 72 per cent of the girls are “coping well”.

Executive Director of the WCJF, Dr. Zoe Simpson, revealed the findings at a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Think Tank on Monday (November 30).

The survey was conducted by 20 counsellors, who interviewed 388 adolescent mothers enrolled at the various sites of the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation (WCJF) across the island during the period of May 15 to June 17, 2020.

Dr. Simpson said it is heartening to know that the girls, for the most part, are coping.

“It says to us that we were doing something right with them, in terms of helping them to understand that life goes on and that irrespective of what life throws at you, you have something inside of you that you can draw on,” she said.

She noted that the girls are taught coping skills before leaving the centres, in terms of how to reach out and find the resources and assistance “and not to lie down and die”.

Dr. Simpson said that the survey also revealed that the girls benefited from family and social support systems, including friends and the wider community, during the early period of the pandemic.

“We were happy that the parents were providing the girls with the extent of support during the period,” she added, noting that the Foundation emphasises family support during counselling sessions with the girls.

The Executive Director said that 72.9 per cent of the girls reported that they had healthy support systems, noting that those who were not in touch with any support expressed “feeling anxious and depressed”.

Another important finding, she said, was that 90.5 per cent of the girls did not experience gender-based violence (GBV).

She said that there were concerns that the pandemic would have increased the prevalence of such incidents.

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