A new survey of children and young people in England has suggested young women and girls’ mental health is getting worse. Specifically, the Mental Health of Children & Young People in England 2017 showed that:
- Among 17 to 19 year olds, girls were more than twice as likely as boys to have a mental disorder.
- Girls were more likely to have emotional disorders and rates increase sharply with age, peaking at 17-19 years old
- Girls have three times the rate of PTSD compared to boys (0.9 per cent compared with 0.3 per cent) with the highesr rate among 17-19 year olds (2.4 per cent)
- Girls have much higher rates of self-harm and attempted suicide compared with boys (7.3 per cent for 11-16 year olds and 21.5 per cent of 17-19 year olds, compared with 3.6 per cent and 9.7 per cent respectively).
Jemima Olchawski, Chief Executive of Agenda, the alliance for women and girls at risk, says: “This serious and accelerating deterioration in young women and girls’ mental health should concern us all.
“It is not enough to blame body image and social media. While they are rightly cited as possible explanations, 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 important to recognise the different drivers and experiences of poor mental health among girls and boys so that we can respond appropriately.
“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.”