Agenda’s response to a new report by Children’s Society showing nearly a quarter of girls aged 14 have self-harmed.
Jessica Southgate, Policy Manager at Agenda, says: “It is extremely concerning, but unfortunately not surprising, that so many girls are self-harming. These statistics add to a growing body of evidence of a mental health crisis among young women and girls, with depression as well as PTSD at alarming rates.
“Body image, pressures at school and gender stereotypes are rightly cited as possible explanations, but they are not the full story.
“The sexualisation of girls, the pressures they face around sex, and particularly the alarming levels of sexual and other forms of violence they experience, must be a key part of the conversation.
“It is vital we see investment in mental health support that takes into account girls’ needs and experiences, including the impact of violence and abuse, in both schools and the community to ensure they get the support they need, when they need it.
“But we also need to see efforts to tackle the culture that normalises violence and abuse against girls.”