There’s been a huge spike in the number of young women suffering from mental health problems, a major health report has found. According to the latest study from NHS Digital, more than a quarter (26%) of young women aged 16 to 24 are suffering worrying symptoms – more than three times the rate for men the same age (9%).
And around a quarter of young women have self-harmed – most commonly by cutting themselves – compared to just 10% of men the same age. Who is Bruno Langley, what is his net worth and who does he play in Coronation Street? In 1993 young women were twice as likely as young men to exhibit common mental health disorder (CMD) symptoms.
Now, they are three times more likely to experience them. CMD symptoms include irritability, worrying, depression, anxiety, feelings of panic, compulsion and trouble sleeping. The study, which looked at responses from 7,500 people, also found that young women are the most likely to drink at hazardous levels compared to women of other age groups, and they have high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Social media encourages the pursuit of perfection (Picture: Getty Images) Experts have now suggested that, while it’s known that women suffer because of violence and abuse, the young women in this study are the ‘first cohort to come of age in social media ubiquity’. Sally McManus, the study’s lead author, says that social media and the pursuit of ‘perfection’ could be fuelling the rise in anxiety and depression in young women.
Unmarried couples now have the same right to grieve as married couples ‘This is the context they are coming into and it warrants further investigation,’ she added. Dr Hayley van Zwanenberg, clinical director of the Priory’s well-being centres, said: ‘Younger people of today – the “touch screen” generation – see the internet as their friend but for many it is actually a huge distorting mirror, presenting a world of “perfect” people with perfect lives against whom they judge themselves very harshly.
‘This is particularly true for women, who worry much more about their weight and their appearance as a result of being deluged with social media. This worry fuels eating disorders, stress, and self-harming.’ And Stephen Buckley, head of information at Mind charity, said the rise in depression, anxiety and self-harm was down to a combination of factors.
Man who picked up horse manure for a living now owns more McDonald’s than anyone else ‘Young people are coming of working age in times of economic uncertainty, they’re more likely to experience issues associated with debt, unemployment and poverty, and they are up against increasing social and environmental pressures, all of which affect well-being,’ he said.
‘[Social media is] instantaneous and anonymous nature means it’s easy for people to make hasty and sometimes ill-advised comments that can negatively affect other people’s mental health. ‘It’s important to avoid sites that are likely to trigger negative feelings and/or behaviour and to take a break from social media if you’re feeling vulnerable.’