Girlguiding Girls’ Attitudes Survey 2015 has shown that an alarming number of girls aged 11-21 in the UK are experiencing emotional distress, but more alarmingly, that they feel that the parents and adults in their lives fail to notice or understand these.
Our CEO, Caroline Harroe gave comment today to Capital fm on the report, stating that “whilst what the report states is upsetting, it does not come as a surprise… we hear the stories of young people on a daily basis and whilst we are aware that more people are coming forwards to seek support, there is still a huge gap between the needs of young people and how well they are received by adults. This report is just a manifestation of what we see every day in society; young people are disempowered and their distress is often written off as ‘immature’ or ‘hormonal’. We need to listen sooner to the needs of young people and help them to express themselves freely in order to get the help that they need.”
You can listen to the interview with Caroline on Capital fm across the course of the afternoon and read the full article below:
Parents are too often out of touch with the mental health pressures faced by girls and young women, suggests research.
Self-harm was the biggest health concern for girls aged 11-21, according to the Girlguiding Girls’ Attitudes Survey 2015.
Researchers questioned a representative sample of more than 1,500 UK girls and young women aged seven to 21.
The findings “provide a stark warning”, said chief executive Julie Bentley.
The figures show the mental wellbeing and resilience of UK girls are under threat – and yet adults are failing to recognise this, according to the organisation, the UK’s largest charity for girls and young women.
Among more than 1,000 11-to-21-year-old girls and young women questioned, the top health concerns were self-harm, mental illness, depression and eating disorders, along with smoking.
Some 62% of this age group said they knew a girl or young woman who had experienced a mental health problem, while 82% said adults often failed to recognise the pressures they faced.
Overall, more than a third (37%) said they had needed help with their own mental health.
Girlguiding says comparable figures from its 2010 survey showed girls’ top concerns then were binge-drinking, smoking and drug abuse.
The 2015 survey suggests girls believe their parents’ worries are stuck in the past, focusing on drug and alcohol abuse.
Worries about sexual harassment and low body confidence are widespread, suggests the survey.
Three-quarters of the 11-to-21 age group said anxiety about sexual harassment had had a negative impact on them in some way, for example, affecting what they wore and how they felt about their bodies.
Some 39% said they had experienced a demeaning comment on their appearance within the past week.
Among the seven-to-11 age group, 83% reported feeling sad or down and 16% said this was because of concerns about their looks.
Ms Bentley called for an open conversation about the issues.
“By listening to girls we can work together to tackle the root causes of their distress and champion their potential.”