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Something is happening to the girls in this country and we need to get to the bottom of itvia Pixabay

Almost half of British girls seek help for mental health

A new study shows self-harming is a big concern for young women aged 11-21, along with depression and cyber-bullying

We need to talk about girls. Following last week’s revelation that English girls are among the most unhappy in the world with low self-esteem and practically zero satisfaction with their bodies and appearance, the pressures on them are evidently more dehabilitating than previously assumed. According to a new survey, as reported by the Telegraph, almost half of British girls have required help with their mental health.

The Girlguiding UK research looked into the pressures facing girls today and found that self-harming was one of the biggest health concerns for girls aged 11-21, closely followed by mental illness, cyber-bullying and depression. 

Out of 1,574 girls surveyed, 62 per cent of those aged 11 to 21 said they knew someone who’d personally had mental health issues, while staggeringly 46 per cent of 17 to 21 year olds said they’d personally had mental health issues.

The report also found that sexual harassment and low body confidence were hurting girls’ wellbeing. Around 75 per cent said anxiety about experiencing sexual harassment negatively affected their lives, from influencing what they wore and where they went to how they felt about their bodies.

Girlguiding advocate Katherine Bradfield, 18, told the Telegraph: “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.”

What’s troubling about this is that the awareness of these issues among young people is so poor and they’re being offered such little support that only 44 per cent of girls aged 11 to 16 said they’d discussed mental health at school, and over half said they wanted to know more about where to get support for those issues.

The findings will be published next month in Girlguiding’s Girls’ Attitudes Survey 2015.

Traditionally, you might think of young men as troubled – particularly male teens. Mental health problems do affect anyone and it is worth pointing out that men are typically not as likely to own up to or seek help for these issues. However there is definitely something unique to the female experience that is affecting young women.