New Chicago Program Reduced PTSD Symptoms By 20 Percent For Black Girls Dealing With Trauma

'Working on Womanhood' says the program offers stepping stones for the young women.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

| June 18 2019,

9:33 pm

A new program has allegedly reduced symptoms of PTSD by more than 20 percent.

Girls attending Chicago Public Schools, dealing with anxiety, depression, PTSD, and those alike, were followed for the study's program. The results were found after a few months of participation.

“The heart of Working on Womanhood is it offers young women a stepping stone,” said Gail Day, program director of Working on Womanhood, to Chicago Sun-Times. “[These are] stepping stones in rewriting their narrative, becoming more resilient, and then as a result, truly becoming empowered.”

According to a study — to be released by the University of Chicago sometime in the Fall — nearly 40 percent of girls in the Chicago Public School system show signs of PTSD. The 1,500 students surveyed averaged at least two traumatic events; the study mentioned a fear results may be low because it did not include incidents of sexual abuse, assault, or forms of domestic violence.

“Young girls internalize a lot of these stresses happening in their life,” Day said. “That is why a lot of them are suffering in silence because they feel there is no safe place to talk about it.”

The program, which was started in 2011, serves more than 2,000 girls — with 60 percent being black — and offers counselling to those at high-risk for exposure to trauma. The program's necessity was further highlighted when they received financial support from former Chicago mayor, Rahm Emmanuel, who gave $200,000.

A former student in the program, Monique Harvey, described the transformation she underwent during the two-year curriculum.

“I thought of myself as a baby bird with broken wings trying to fly without guidance,” Harvey, who was homeless during high school said to Sun-Times. “Now I see myself as a bird with scarred wings, still healing, but being able to soar because of my circle of support."