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Young women at greater risk of depression

Tuesday 27th November 2018
A new survey of young people and mental health has shown females in their late teens have many more mental health problems than males.
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    Young women are at far greater risk than their male counterparts of suffering from mental illness, an NHS survey has revealed. 

    The study of 9,000 young people in England, based on interviews conducted last year, found that one in nine children aged between five and 15 had a mental disorder, up from one in ten in the previous study in 2004. Overall, 12.8 per cent of the 2017 sample had a mental disorder.

    A key finding was that a quarter of young women aged 17-19 suffered from some form of mental illness. The rate was twice as high as it was among young men of the same age, with the most common problems being anxiety and depression. 

    However, the rates were virtually identical in the 11-16 age range and boys were more likely to have a problem at the younger end of the scale. 

    Girls with a mental issue were much more likely to have self-harmed than boys, including 31 per cent of those aged 11-16 and 53 per cent of the 17-19 age range. The equivalent figures for boys in these age ranges were 19 per cent and 34 per cent. 

    Another finding was that of those aged 14-19 identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender were 2.5 times as likely as hetrosexual teenagers to have a mental health problem.  

    The study also looked at the mental health of under-fives for the first time, finding that 5.5 per cent of those aged between two and four had a mental disorder. The rates were higher among girls (6.8 per cent) than boys (4.2 per cent). 
    Other aspects of the study examined demographic factors such as wealth and ethnicity. In the former case, those on lower incomes were more likely to have mental health problems, while in the latter, it was notable that the 'white British' group had the most problems, with little overall difference between boys and girls. 

    While black and Asian groups saw lower rates of mental health problems, there were pronounced gender differences, with girls much more likely to have issues than boys.

    Written by Angela Newbury

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