Girls Face 'Sharp Rise' In Emotional Problems

Number Of Girls Reporting Mental Health Issues Increases As Service Availability Shrinks


Andrew Robinson, Press Officer | 0113 218 6463

The number of girls aged 11-13 reporting emotional issues has increased sharply over five years, new research has discovered.

A study in the Journal of Adolescent Mental Health found a 7% spike in girls reporting emotional issues, while boys' answers remained comparatively consistent.

The surveys, carried out in 2009 and 2014, found that social, peer and behavioural problems remained relatively constant for both boys and girls, indicating a disproportionate increase in mental health issues for young girls.

Cuts to funding for mental health services have been widespread in the five years between the two surveys. "In a climate of limited resources, it is possible teachers may focus more on behavioural and conduct issues as these tend to disrupt classrooms,"  said researcher Dr Helen Sharpe of University College London.

As a result, experts are calling for teachers to be given more resources to recognise emotional problems, and for mental health services to be more widely available.

Sarah Brennan of the charity YoungMinds said: "This research is shocking further 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. YoungMinds is concerned that these are affecting girls in particular."

Expert Opinion
The findings of this research are extremely concerning and it is clear action needs to be taken to ensure the mental health services young people require are available to them. Those with mental health problems are extremely vulnerable and it is absolutely imperative they are able to access help and support services when they need them.

“It is vital local authorities and education facilities work together to identify any young people that may need to access mental health services to ensure they get the help they need. It is also important mental health services have the appropriate resources in place to provide suitable care to patients to improve standards and maintain patient safety.
Tom Fletcher, Associate