Adults out of touch with mental health pressures
- Self-harming, mental illness, depression and eating disorders top list of health concerns for girls aged 11 -21
- Almost half of girls aged 17 to 21 (46 per cent) have personally needed help with their mental health
- 62 per cent of girls aged 11 to 21 know a girl or young woman who has experienced a mental health problem
- 82 per cent of girls aged 11 to 21 say adults don’t recognise the pressure they are under.
- Two-thirds of girls aged 17 to 21 say mental health is awkward to talk about
Girls’ mental wellbeing worries start from as young as seven – escalating as they get older with two in five girls aged 11 to 21 needing to seek help with mental health concerns.
Self-harming tops a list of health concerns for girls aged 11-21, closely followed by smoking, mental illness, depression and eating disorders. In 2010, girls’ top three health concerns were binge drinking, smoking and drug abuse.
But girls feel that adults too often fail to keep pace with new threats to UK girls’ wellbeing. While girls aged 13 – 21 say mental health issues, cyber-bullying and getting a job are the top overall concerns facing young people today, they say their parents’ biggest concerns remain drug use, alcohol and smoking.
The overwhelming majority of girls aged 11 to 21 (82 per cent) say adults don’t recognise the pressure they are under.
The findings will be published next month in Girlguiding’s Girls’ Attitudes Survey 2015 - the largest survey of its kind into the views of UK girls.
The report shows that worries over sexual harassment and low body confidence are taking their toll on girls’ wellbeing.
Three quarters of girls aged 11 to 21 (75 per cent) say anxiety about experiencing sexual harassment negatively affects their lives in some way – from what they wear and where they go to how they feel about their bodies. Exacerbating this - in the last week, two in five girls aged 11 to 21 have had a demeaning comment made to them about the way they look (39%).
Girlguiding Advocate Katherine Bradfield, 18, said: “Once again, Girlguiding’s Girls’ Attitudes Survey shines a light on what life is really like for girls in the UK today – and it’s a troubling picture.
“Girls are battling adversity at every corner – as everyday sexism and harassment remain a constant, unwanted presence in our lives.
“Now we see the damaging consequences of these pressures, as they take their toll on girls’ mental wellbeing.
“We’ve given a voice to girls’ concerns – now it’s time for real change to tackle this damning status quo.”
Girlguiding’s Chief Guide, Gill Slocombe, said: “As the leading charity for girls and young women, everything Girlguiding does supports girls’ wellbeing. In an increasingly complex world, we offer young women a safe space where they can be themselves, develop their confidence and build resilience.
“Just one example is our inspiring peer education programme – offering a space for younger girls to discuss sensitive issues in a supportive, peer to peer environment.”
For more information please see http://www.girlguiding.org.uk/girlsattitudes