Teenage girls: Mental well-being ‘worsening’

"Young people felt less control over their own destinies," says the study.

mental health model

The rise of social media and smartphones is linked to rising psychological problems


The mental well-being of teenage girls in England has worsened in recent years, says research for the Department for Education.

Researchers highlighted the growing pressure of social media and the near-constant use of mobile phones.

The study compared the experiences and attitudes of 14-year-olds in 2014 with those in 2005 and found an increase in “psychological distress”.

“Young people felt less control over their own destinies,” says the study.

The report, tracking the well-being of 30,000 people in 13,000 households, found that young people in 2014 were more “serious” than in 2005.

On the positive side, it saw young people more engaged in school, more likely to want to go to university and less likely to be involved in “risky” activities, such as smoking or getting involved in petty crime.

But there was also a negative dimension, with an increase in psychological problems, particularly among girls.

There were also more problems for those growing up in single-parent families.

Researchers suggested that the sense of seriousness and the need to do well at school could reflect the changing economic climate.

Under pressure

Teenagers in 2005 had grown up in a time of sustained economic growth – while those in 2014 were aware of the tough competition for jobs and the difficulty in affording somewhere to live.

The result seems to have been to make young people more “work focused”, says the survey.

And rather than any stereotype of “binge-drinking, drug-taking and laziness”, it suggests that young people are more likely to be characterised by increased levels of anxiety and a sense of being under pressure.

The study also linked an increase in psychological problems with changing technology.

The dominance of social media and the widespread access to the internet on mobile phones represents a “major change in the lives of young people”, says the study.

Teenagers in 2014, unlike those in 2005, faced the almost constant pressure of social media and the use of smartphones with video cameras.

This played a part in everything from bullying to missed hours of sleep and to pressure on friendships and relationships.

The study found teenagers from better-off families were more likely to suffer from “psychological distress” than those from poorer families.

Researchers suggest this might reflect a lower sense of parental pressure.

Children of parents with higher qualifications were more likely to have psychological problems than those with lower qualifications.

The study suggests that the problems of mental health are so widespread that “broad-spectrum initiatives aimed at all young people” would be valuable.

“In terms of the policy implications of these findings, it would appear that there is little in the way of low-hanging fruit – simple, low-cost initiatives are difficult to identify,” the study says.

Credit: BBC  News

2 Responses to "Teenage girls: Mental well-being ‘worsening’"

  1. Carole   23rd August 2016 at 2:17 PM

    Mental Health Services in Manchester what’s that it’s a joke
    Despite attacking staff in Manchester Royal infirmary which was so bad they wanted to section me my gp told them not to
    When I then verbally abused the receptionist at my Drs surgery they struck me off
    Has well has being a full time career for my father
    Dad eventually went into a care home where they tried to kill him at the same time my child was being racially abused and bullied both at school by other kids and also in the area where we lived
    I was eventually taken to court by the school at that point they said due to my mental health they would no longer educate my child
    They took me to court gave me a 8 year asbo banning me from my daughters education at the same time refusing for four years to educate her
    I’ve made numerous self referrals to different mental health agencies but they do nothing they see me for a few times then disapear when I get back into them my mental health kicks in the bar me from there services and refuse to help me any furthe
    More recently I’ve been reading up on my mental health has dispite being diagnosed over 10 years ago nothing’s not been done
    I’m now finding out that I should have had a support worker with a plan put in place to help me but this wasn’t done
    Instead I’ve been locked up areasted got a criminal record lost my home on numerous occasion fighting on my own at the moment to try and keep this house that I’ve got
    I’ve been banned from every Dwp office in Manchester I’m banned from there phone lines even the housing won’t talk to me
    Was sectioned twice last year but all I got when I was taken to the hospital was from the mental health service how can we help you I told them leave me alone they said ok and said they would pay for my taxi
    When I was sectioned again the same thing they asked me what they could do again I told them leave me the f alone and pay for my taxi to go home and they did

    More recently a friends daughter tried to commit suicide by overdosing on her epeleptic medication she was seen at Manchester Royal and they just told her mum they don’t pump your stomach no more so she should go home and hopefully she would vomit this child is a child in care whose mother and grandmother have mental health issues this child is also with social services and two weeks prior to this ran away from home when the child was discharged she ran away from home again for over a week with the police looking for her

    • manchesterusersnetwork   12th January 2017 at 4:52 AM

      Thank you, for your comments and for sharing your experiences.

      MUN Reporter. Editor-in-Chief.


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