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More And More Teenage Girls Concerned About Mental Health

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Findings of a new study conducted by Girlguiding UK, a charity for girls and young women, revealed that mental health problems is a growing issue among British girls but adults fail to recognize the signs and support them.

For the Girlguiding Girls' Attitudes Survey 2015, researchers surveyed more than 1,500 girls and young women between 7 and 21 years old and found that two in five girls needed help with their mental health.

It also appears that the prevalence of the concern increases with age. Twenty-eight percent of girls between 11 and 16 years old said they have mental health issues and this increases to 46 percent in girls between 17 and 21 years old.

Most girls also think that adults are out of touch with threats to their well-being with 82 percent of the girls saying that adults do not recognize the pressures that they are under.

Concerns of adults also appear to be misaligned with the issues that girls face. Girls between 13 and 21 years old say that the top concerns that young people face today are mental health issues, cyber-bullying and finding a job but the parents' main concerns are still drug use, alcohol and smoking.

Young Minds, a mental health charity, explained that some young people may feel that their parents do not understand their issues since they are from a different generation.

Girls also fail to find sufficient support for their mental well-being with 66 percent of the girls in the 11 to 21 age bracket finding it awkward to talk about mental health. In girls between 11 and 16 years, only 44 percent said that they have discussed about mental health in school.

"For far too long the issue of mental well-being and resilience has been pushed aside and ignored, branded as something awkward to talk about," wrote Girlguiding Advocate Katherine Bradfield. "This attitude only makes things worse for those who are experiencing problems, and a perceived lack of understanding can also have a really negative impact."

The health and well-being concerns of girls have also changed over the last five years. Self-harming, smoking, mental illness, depression and eating disorders top the list of concerns for girls between 11 and 21 years old today but in 2010, the top three health concerns were binge drinking, smoking and drug abuse.

Fifty-three percent of the girls between 11 and 21 years old feel that they are not sufficiently aware about mental health issues among young people and 52 percent said that they are interested to know where to find help for these issues.

Photo: Vladimir Pustovit | Flickr

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