Girlguiding's Attitudes Survey has released some upsetting statistics...
The annual survey talks to hundreds of girls and young women between the ages of seven and 21 about everything from health to relationships and their career and Julie Bentley, Girlguiding’s Chief Executive, claims that this year’s survey provides a stark warning about the fragile state of UK girls:
“We need the support of decision-makers to start an open conversation about girls’ concerns to tackle the root causes of their distress – and champion their potential.”
2 in 5 girls between the ages of 11 and 21 have admitted they have personally needed help with their mental health, whilst the statistic rises in age with nearly half of 17 to 21 year olds believing this.
Whilst the survey has yet to shed light on the reasoning behind this, when asked what they felt were the overall concerns that young people faced today, the majority responded with health issues, cyber-bullying and finding a job as their top three reasons.
Self-harming tops the list of health concerns that 11 to 21 year old women face, whilst smoking, mental illness, depression and eating disorders closely follow. This is a huge difference from 2010, where girls’ top three health concerns were drinking, smoking and drug abuse.
Despite the increase in young women experiencing mental health problems, the majority of them still feel as though they can’t speak out about it, and 82% of those surveyed felt that adults are often unable to recognise the pressure that young people face on a daily basis. The survey also reveals the taboo that’s attached to talking about mental health with nearly 3 in 5 girls aged 11 to 21 believing mental health is awkward to talk about, rising to two-thirds of young women in the 17 to 21 year old age bracket.
But how about when it comes to education in the classroom?
Well unfortunately, many of the young women that were surveyed feel they receive inadequate support at school, with fewer than half of girls aged 11 to 16 saying they have talked about mental health during a school lessons whilst over half of girls aged 11 to 21 feel like they don’t know enough about mental health, but want to know more about it, and where to get support.
It’ll be interesting to see what else the Girls’ Attitudes Survey 2015 reveals about young people, and whether it uncovers just what has changed for mental health problems to rise in girls and young women.
For more information, visit girlguiding.org.uk