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Challenges facing girls

It is now well-documented that children and young people in the UK are facing challenges in relation to their mental health. This is even more concerning in the light of the coronavirus pandemic and is heightened by the additional challenges of poverty and deprivation that many children and young people in our area face.

Sadly girls appear to be at greater risk of experiencing mental health issues than boys of the same age. Research shows that girls are disproportionately influenced and affected by images, harassment and pressure on social  media. They also face cultural attitudes and stereotypes that impact negatively on their aspirations, achievements and happiness and are at greater risk of exploitation & isolation.

Some of the shocking UK statistics include:

  • A quarter of young women (25.7%) have self-harmed – more than twice the rate for young men.
  • Self-harm reported to GP’s among teenage girls increased by 68% over just three years. Rates are highest in deprived areas (https://www.nhs.uk/news/mental-health/worrying-rise-reports-self-harm-among-teenage-girls-uk/)
  • 72% of those in suicide counselling with NSPCC are girls
  • Nearly half (48%) of girls aged 11-18 have experienced some form of harassment or abuse on social media (Girl Guiding : Girl’s Wellbeing Explored – Sept 2016)
  • 59% of girls aged 11-21 say social media is a main cause of stress (https://www.girlguiding.org.uk/social-action-advocacy-and-campaigns/research/girls-attitudes-survey/)

We believe that preventative work is just as important as support for girls who are already struggling. By focusing our work on self-esteem, resilience and safety we can help the next generation of Middlesbrough girls overcome some of the enormous obstacles they face, and we will see their amazing potential shine through.