Survey reveals an overwhelming per cent of teenage girls are at risk of mental health.
Most people deal with huge amounts of pressure whilst growing up, be it obtaining perfect grades at school, passing your driving test on the first go, or even getting your first job after university. Many deal with the struggles of modern day living, but it seems as though Britain’s teenage girls are a demographic particularly at risk of mental health issues due to the pressures of modern life.
Earlier this week, The Daily Telegraph reported on a survey conducted by Girlguiding. The Girls’ Attitudes Survey “asked 1,574 girls and young women between 7 and 21 for their views on a range of issues – from health and well-being to relationships and careers.” – the results of which were astonishing. Over 60 per cent of girls aged 11 to 21 know a girl or young woman with a mental health problem and over half of 17 to 21 year olds have pursued help for their own mental health needs.
The figures in themselves are astounding – however, there are multiple symptoms that come hand in hand with mental health issues that require medical attention, which can add more pressure onto current health services for treatment. According to the Mental Health Foundation, self-harm can be a symptom of an underlying mental health issue – and the UK has one of the highest rates of self-harm in Europe, with 400 cases per 100,000 population.
So what does this say about today’s society? How can we tackle this issue to help the nation’s young women before it adds more stress to current healthcare services?
From the study, it appears as though the pressures of modern day life play a huge influence when it comes to mental health in young girls. With the introduction of the digital age and social media residing as one of the most popular forms of communication, young girls are constantly exposed to images of the “perfect” figure or the importance of a busy social life – something they previously could have switched off from when they stepped outside of school gates. However, new technology has meant that this is simply not as easy to achieve as it was previously.
Whilst it is difficult to control the use of social media by young girls and to change their attitudes on how they should physically look etc., we believe that something else must be done in addition to current efforts in order to support those at risk of developing mental health problems, thus taking the risk of added pressure on healthcare services.
It would not be an easy feat, what with mental health and its side affects being an issue often facing stigmas and stereotypes – but charities, schools, colleges, universities, businesses, care institutions and most importantly the UK government, need to achieve something together to create a mass impact. Campaigns are already in full force to raise awareness of the issue – but as the saying goes, two heads are better than one. Or in this case, multiple heads.
One thing we know is for certain, is that if a new solution is not reached by all concerning parties, then the UK will be in the midst of a huge crisis that can prove difficult to recover from.