Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Mental Health and Young Women

Report says women aged 16-34 from poorest backgrounds are five times more likely to harm themselves. Young women are being driven to self-harm as a result of poverty, debt and their struggles to pay household bills.

Its findings, released by the charity Agenda, show a close association between wealth and mental ill-health, and show that young women in poverty are much more likely to suffer psychologically.

NatCen’s research showed that the debate about the recent rise in mental health problems among young women – which often cites social media, exam stress and body image issues as negative influences – took too little account of deprivation.

“It’s devastating to see such high and increasing levels of self-harm among young women, especially those living in poverty and facing deprivation. This is especially concerning as we move into an economic downtown,” Jemima Olchawski, Agenda’s chief executive said. “The increase in self-harm among young women is deeply worrying. Yet the discussion around this issue and women and girls’ mental health is often very narrow, focusing on issues like social media rather than reflecting on wider causes. This research highlights the important relationship between self-harm and poverty.”
There is mounting evidence that self-harm is on the increase in the population as a whole, and that teenage girls and young adult women are the most affected. The proportion of 16- to 24-year-old females who say they have self-harmed rose from 6.5% to 19.7% between 2000 and 2014. The suicide rate among girls and young women aged between 10 and 24 has risen: in 2018 it was the highest on record.

A recent report by Prof Sir Michael Marmot of University College London, called Health Equity in England Ten Years On, found that women in the poorest areas faced the worst health inequalities and that their life expectancy had fallen by 10% in the last decade.


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