An English study in the Journal of Adolescent Mental Health has suggested that there has been a sharp rise in the number of schoolgirls who are at risk of emotional problems.
Researchers analysed questionnaires which were completed by 1,600 pupils aged between 11 and 13 and compared them to similar surveys conducted five years earlier. The results revealed a 7% spike in the number of girls with emotional issues while the boys’ answers remained fairly stable.
Whilst the social, peer and behavioural problems remained relatively constant amongst both the boys and girls across the five year period, the rise in emotional issues reported by the girls suggests that they face unique pressures that boys don’t.
Researchers who carried out the study are concerned that the reasons for this are linked to young girls wanting to achieve unrealistic body images that they are bombarded with on social media. It is also thought that the increasing sexualisation of young women and the fact that schools and councils are hit with funding cuts to mental health services could be contributing factors.
When teachers have limited resources they are forced to focus more on behavioural and conduct issues because these lead to classroom disruptions. Researchers are now suggesting that staff should be given the right resources in order to help them recognise emotional problems.
Sarah Brennan from the charity YoungMinds commented:
“This research is shocking concrete evidence of the serious and worsening state of children and young people’s mental health in this country. Young people tell us they feel enormous pressures today ranging from bullying, the 24/7 online environment and sexual pressures to issues around body image, school stress and family breakdown. We are concerned about how these are affecting girls in particular.”
To learn more about emotional problems, please check out our Knowledge Centre. If you are over 16 and suffering from emotional problems, Life Works can help. Please contact us to find out what we can do.