A new study shows a worrying rise in mental health problems among teenagers in the UK. According to the Department of Education, which spoke to 30,000 pupils aged 14-15, more than one in three teen girls suffer from anxiety or depression. It’s a rise of 10 per cent in the past decade, leading experts to call it a “slow-growing epidemic.”
Out of the girls surveyed, 37 per cent had three or more symptoms of psychological distress, for example feeling worthless or unable to concentrate, compared to 15 per cent of boys. In fact, depression and anxiety in boys had actually fallen since 2005.
The results are understandably concerning. So what’s going on? Why is it that young girls are more susceptible to mental health problems than boys – and what’s causing their issues?
Teenage girls today face a huge range of pressures. Stress at school, body image worries, early sexualisation, bullying on and offline and uncertainty about the future after school are all piling on the stress. Social media also puts pressure on girls to live their lives in the public domain, to present a personal ‘brand’ from a young age, and to seek reassurance in the form of likes and shares.
– Radhika Sanghani