One in four young women in UK report Mental health problems

RAFFA reviews a series of articles that report the increase mental health problems among young women in the UK.

It has been reported in the press that a quarter of young women in the UK have suffered from anxiety and depression, this information has been come from the results a new survey released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The figures were collected as part of a wide-ranging survey gauging the wellbeing of people aged between 16 and 24. They show that, despite an increase in the number of those who said their quality of life had improved since 2009, one in four young women said they had faced symptoms linked to poor mental wellbeing in 2014-15.

The report said that young women were “significantly more likely” than their male counterparts to recognise and admit being anxious or depressed, with less than one in six young men reporting similar symptoms.

The ONS report used data taken from surveys that focused on a person’s overall happiness – shown by their attitudes to issues such as relationships, work, education and finances – to create a nationwide picture.
The results show that while more than a third of young people aged between 16 and 19 who were questioned said they had a “very high” level of life satisfaction, this dropped to just a quarter among people aged between 20 and 24.

The study also revealed that in the four years from 2009-10 to 2013-14, the number of young people saying their mental health had “deteriorated” rose from 18% to 21%.

Angela Clarke, National Executive Director RAFFA agrees with a recent report in the Guardian that stated “There is still a huge amount of misunderstanding about mental health conditions, making people less likely to open up to others if they are struggling to cope. This is particularly difficult for young people who face pressure, including stress at school, college or university and body image issues.” He went on to say that an environment of 24-hour access to social media has led to some young people feeling they need to “keep up the pretence of having a perfect life”

Angela recently attended a series of round table meetings with CCG, Councillors and practitioners to discuss concerns about the mental health of children and young people with the aim of looking at strategies to improve the support available. Further updates on these meetings will be regularly posted.

Mental illness soars among young women in England – survey

NHS study finds 12.6% of women aged 16-24 screen positive for PTSD, 19.7% self-harm and 28.2% have mental health violence, childhood trauma and pressures from social media are being blamed for dramatic increases in the number of young women self-harming and having post-traumatic stress disorder or a chronic mental illness.

An inquiry into the state of mental health in England found alarming evidence that more women aged from 16 to 24 are experiencing mental health problems than ever before. “Young women have become a key high risk group,” it concluded.

Psychological distress is now so common that one in four in that age group have harmed themselves at some point, according to the government-funded Adult Psy-chiatric Morbidity survey. The number of women of that age who screened positive for PTSD has also trebled from 4.2% in 2007 to 12.6% – one in eight – in 2014, al-though the use of a more accurate screening tool in the new survey helps explain some of that rise.

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Young women are more than three times as likely as their male peers to have PTSD; just 3.6% of men in the age group age had it, the report by NHS Digital said. In addition, women that age are more likely than any other group to have experienced a common mental disorder (CMD) in the past week, according to the in-depth study of 7,500 people of all ages. Researchers found that more than one in four (26%) of women aged 16 to 24 had anxiety, depression, panic disorder, phobia or obsessive compulsive disorder. Overall, 19% of women of all ages had one of those, compared with 12% of men.
Sally McManus, the lead researcher in the survey, said: “We know that there are things like violence and abuse that are strongly associated with mental illness.” But, she added: “This is also the age of social media ubiquity. This is the context that [young women] are coming into and it warrants further research.”

If you have an interest in supporting the improvement of the mental health of young people in your community contact Angela Clarke Angela@raffa.org.uk