That life can be tough for teenagers is an age-old issue. In modern Britain however, it seems problems are increasing, and one survey highlights girls in particular.
This is a conclusion of recent research suggesting one-in-four 14-year-old girls could be considered depressed (or self report signs/symptoms that could lead to such a diagnosis which is a little different from a formal diagnosis).
Such a finding, whilst a cause for obvious concern, doesn’t come as an enormous surprise.
To quote one child health professional (via an article for the BBC in recent days), ‘Social media has had a major impact on how this generation are; they live their lives online, often skewing what’s reality and what’s not reality, and with that comes many problems’.
Social media cannot be blamed for all adolescent ills (other, more traditional issues, including bereavement, violence and neglect continue to do damage), but there can be no question that problems are amplified due to modern life and its digital demands.
Be it bullying or body image, stress at school or ever-more complex lives at home, young people (and with depression of anxiety, girls in particular) can feel at times as though there’s nowhere to hide.
Pressure is all around and escape elusive.
That this can lead to countless problems – not just depressive symptoms, but also eating disorders, anxiety, self-harm and more – should come as no surprise.
To add into the mix the national debt and deficit causing a very real pressure on public services – and the dwindling number of staff like child and adolescent psychiatrists working in the NHS – and it begins to feel like the perfect storm.
Some young people feel inadequate, worthless and unloved.
Some parents not attuned enough to their children’s true anxieties.
Taking such things into account it’s understandable that the researchers (from the UCL Institute of Education and Liverpool University) came to the conclusions outlined above. It’s known as the Millennium Cohort Study, 10,000 children born in 2000/2001 took part; parents reported on the child’s mental health at ages three, five, seven and eleven; the children answered themselves upon reaching 14.
Upon reaching adolescence, emotional problems were more prevalent in girls (24%, compared to 9% in boys). This is a pointer to problems though not proof, but regardless is worrying and two things stand out to us that are the probably take home message:
1) That young people in the UK might be experiencing more mental health difficulties than previous generations; and 2) That accessing the appropriative services and getting the support required is becoming an ever-greater challenge.
On both fronts, we can help.
Experiencing difficulties (either as a young person or a parent) and unable to access appropriate support/services? Need advice or even just a nudge in the right direction?
Please give us a call, send us an email or use our online form to contact the CPUK team.
Life can be tough for teenagers, in modern Britain perhaps more so than ever before.
Finding the answers, providing the support; that’s what we’re here for.