In recent days, Public Health England have released a new report that focuses on school-aged children.
The report in question is based around three main topics, which are Cyberbullying, Intentional Self-Harm in Adolescence and the Wellbeing of Adolescent Girls. For obvious reasons, this is of great interest and relevance to us here.
The PHE report is too long to replicate in great detail, but there is no need to since the main issues can be summarised here.
These are the things that trouble adults and adolescents alike, the problems that professionals encounter most often and the difficulties so common for many trying to negotiate a path through modern life.
Take cyberbullying for instance:
17.9% of the 11 to 15-year-olds taking part reported being bullied in this way.
Girls are twice as likely as boys to report cyberbullying, whilst young people from more affluent families are more likely to tell someone that they’ve been victimised.
Cyberbullying increases as children begin to move through adolescence, with the risk to 15-year-olds double that faced at age 11. Then there’s self-harm.
More than one in five 15-year-olds reported having self-harmed and, over the last decade, the rate has increased.
Nearly three times as many girls reported that they had self-harmed as boys (32% compared to 11%), whilst self-harm has been found to be more common amongst those living in single-parent households.
When it comes to adolescent girls, the report shows lower life satisfaction than found amongst boys, with girls more likely to feel pressurised by school work and less likely to enjoy school.
Close to one in five girls said they’d felt lonely during the last week, whilst fewer than half of 15-year-old girls said that they felt full of energy or were able to concentrate and pay attention in class. In addition, communication with parents was found to be problematic.
This doesn’t make for great reading, although such issues being so common, this doesn’t come as a major surprise to us.
To parents this might be quite an eye-opener. Yet given that to be forewarned is to be forearmed, the rather bleak picture that has been painted here can be used to get ahead of the curve.
In conclusion, the PHE report offers advice and recommendations for those facing such problems: simple things such as implementing a balanced diet, increasing physical activity, and ensuring adolescents get sufficient sleep. This is advice we are constantly giving to young people.
Young people benefit from positive communication within the family, from being able to talk about important issues and from having someone who will listen to them and accept their concerns. Feeling safe, having a sense of belonging and good relationships (with teachers and peers) at school is also important. In the wider community, being able to trust people and having somewhere good and safe to spend time is beneficial.
These are all things that we ourselves would recommend and endorse. In some cases this might be enough, although there are some who require additional support to overcome the obstacles outlined above. This is what we’re here for.
Do you have concerns about cyberbullying, self-harm, the wellbeing of adolescent girls, or other associated issues?
Consider the above. We hope it helps, but please do contact us if we can be of further assistance.