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10% of teen girls needed specialist mental health support last year

Friday 1st December 2017
One in ten teenage girls in the UK required specialist mental health support over the past 12 months, according to a new report. Image: domoyega via iStock
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A growing number of teenage girls in the UK are being referred for specialist mental health support, with one in ten now requiring these services, new figures show.

Statistics from NHS Digital reveal that 11.4 per cent of female 16 and 17-year-olds living in England were referred for this kind of help last year, along with ten per cent of 14 to 15-year-olds. Among their male counterparts aged between 14 and 17, eight per cent were referred for specialist mental health support.

For teenage girls, this means there has been an increase of more than two-thirds (68 per cent) in the number requiring mental health care since 2011, which corresponds with a rise in social media usage, presenting often impressionable young girls with a chance to measure their looks and popularity against their peers.

This also means that one in five patients referred for mental health support throughout Britain are now aged 18 and under, indicating that more needs to be done to protect the wellbeing of younger people and ensure they are always able to access the help that they need.

Overall, figures show 4.8 per cent of England's population accessed mental health, autism or learning disability services over the last 12 months, with some 556,790 of these individuals aged 18 and under.

Data also shows that 19,481 phone calls have been made to Childline by under-18s reporting suicidal thoughts during the past year.

However, NHS Digital found that 41 per cent of people who seek mental health support are faced with a wait of at least three months before they can access a talking therapy, such as counselling.

Commenting on the figures, an NSPCC spokesman stated: "These findings sadly reflect what children have told our Childline service, with one in three counselling sessions last year relating to mental and emotional health and wellbeing issues.

"Many children have told us they are struggling to access support, even at crisis point. Without improvements in how services are funded, planned and delivered, thousands of children will continue to struggle."

Written by Angela Newbury

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