Mental Health: The High Risk to Young Women

In the recent National Study of Health and Wellbeing in the United Kingdom, it was discovered that one in five women are experiencing a mental disorder.

Typically, these include disorders like anxiety or depression, but there is a sizeable difference between the genders.

In a similar study, one in eight men reported having similar mental issues.

Additionally, younger women have a higher incidence of self-harm and mental disorders like bipolar disorder and post traumatic stress. Since 2014, when the first wave of this study was conducted, seemingly there has been little in the way of improvement through this year.

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According to the survey, almost 17 percent of adults in the UK have what is called a CMD or a common mental disorder.

This particular study has been running every seven years since 1993.

The sample size for the study was based on 7500 citizens; with over 300 of the respondents being women who were between the ages of 16 and 24.

The most recent version of the study took place in 2014, and the gleaned data indicated that there is a very visible gender gap when it comes to mental illness between men and women of the younger generation. As a matter of fact, the gap has only increased since the first version of the study in 1993.

During that first year of research, a still high 19 percent of younger women admitted to experiencing some form of mental illness, which at the time was much higher than the eight percent of incidence reported by the men in that same age group.




So What Are The Chief Takeaways?


Based on the information gleaned from the 2014 study, younger women (aged 16 through 24) were three times more likely to experience and report symptoms of mental illness than the men in their age group. As a matter of fact, women reported a rate of 26 percent versus men’s nine percent.

When it comes to traumas that cause mental issues, post traumatic stress disorder was seen in women at a much higher incidence level.

As a matter of fact, women reported this condition at a rate of over 12 percent, whereas men only reported experiencing this devastating condition at a rate of less than four percent.

A prime conclusion that you can draw from the data produced in this study is that the rates of mental illness/disorders has steadily increased in younger women in the UK, while men in the same age group have a incidence that remains relatively steady. There is also a discontinuity when it comes to reporting; women are ten percent more likely to report severe mental symptoms than men, who are only six percent likely.


Incidences of Self-Harm

Self-harm is being reported at an increasing number as well.

From study to study, the incidences of reported self-harm has increased by tw percent.

This is a relatively fast uptick, especially considering that this increase only happened in a span of seven years (from 2007 to 2014).

In fact, 25 percent of the participating young women in 2014 admitted to having engaged in self-harming activities. This is a startling number, especially considering that less than half of that percentage of young males admitted the same thing.

The authors of the report state that this is the first study that has come into effect after the rise of social media. Whether or not this has caused an impact on these numbers is still unknown.



The Breaking Point

Many young professionals in the United Kingdom are experiencing breakdowns while engaging in the day-to-day activities of their careers. Things that can contribute to these breakdowns are childhood trauma, dissatisfaction with career paths, and the suppression of feelings.

For those who feel that they are near a break point, which can range from a panic attack to a full-fledged breakdown, it’s important to seek out a doctor who can help with feelings of depression. Outside of what a mental health professional can provide, techniques like meditation and a focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help young people cope with modern day stresses.


What’s Happening – An Expert’s Take

Stephen Buckley, who is the head of the mental health charity Mind, feels that the newer generation is entering the workforce during a time when the economy is tumultuous. As a result, these new workers are experiencing a higher likelihood of going through job loss, debt, and poverty. Additionally, this is an age of increasing pressures coming from both the social world and the environment, which can greatly work against overall well-being.

Buckley also stated that the rise of social media has benefited this younger generation, but additionally, it has had its negative effects as well. While it can deliver a sense of community to those who often work long hours indoors, it can also leave young people vulnerable to the quick and sometimes negative comments that often come from this digital world.

These negative comments and experience can greatly harm a person’s mental health.

Whether or not there is a correlation between the nascent social media world and the uptick of mental health issues and self harm is unknown, but it is important to find out when someone is self-harming as this is a key indicator that a person may be building up to taking their own life.


Rising Anxiety – The Queues Effect




Many young people are experiencing higher level of anxiety.

This can be as a result of longer hours – many young workers work in excess of 50 hours per week, or it can be something as simple as waiting in queue, which can cause feelings of anxiety or even panic attacks.

In any situation, these phenomena are clearly happening at a higher rate.

A struggling economy, higher social stresses, which are potentially exacerbated by social media, and professional stresses are clearly causing an increase in the overall anxiety rate of young people, especially among women.

Let’s all work to be a little more kind.