This shocking statistic far outstrips the number of young men who have mental health problems. Girls are also three times more likely to report symptoms of depression and anxiety than boys in their age group. This has led to an increase in self-harming amongst young women. So why are girls more likely to have mental health problems, and what can we do to help their mental wellbeing?
The Pressure to Be Perfect
There is an argument that suggests girls are under far more pressure to be perfect, and from a very young age. Images they see on television, in magazines, and in advertising all promote a certain type of look. Young girls can feel pressurized into trying to replicate this look and feel upset and unhappy if they fail.
The only way to really help your daughter, friend, or loved ones, is to understand their world. Watch a television program with them and have an open dialogue. Be careful not to simply reject what they want to watch. Instead, start a conversation about the messages behind what they’re watching. Discuss whether or not the images you’re seeing really reflect real life. Try and encourage young women to see beyond the surface value of the media they consume. This will help them to see that they don’t have to put so much pressure on themselves.
Social Media Scandals
The pressure doesn’t end there. For young women, social media is a big part of growing up. As adults, it’s our job to make young people aware of the dangers. Talk to your child or friend about being pressure online. Remind them that it isn’t private and that anything they send could be seen by anyone. Reassure her that she should never feel pressured into anything and let her know that you are willing to talk to her about it anytime she needs and protect her.
Be aware of mental health indicators. If you know what mental health problems are it’s easier to know how to help. For young girls, withdrawal can be a big one. Feeling overwhelmed or pressured, young girls can tend to turn inwards. If someone you know id shrinking away from their friends, families, social occasions, it could be a cause for alarm. Take these signs seriously. Never dismiss them as simply a mood. There are organizations out there who help young people. Programs from Compass Health Center can help by providing schooling sessions, family therapy, and addressing and mental health issues. Don’t be afraid to seek help if you’re worried about someone close to you.
Lead By Example
Show young women a positive example of a role model. Don’t take life too seriously, and teach them not to sweat the small stuff. If you want them to spend less time online, make sure you’re also not tapping away on a laptop all the time! Communicate and help them to feel like their voice matters and is important. Provide the young woman in your life with the support, wisdom, and inspiration that she needs.