Girls are twice as likely as boys to suffer from mental health issues by age 18, study finds


Since childhood, girls and boys have been taught how they should behave in public places and how their body language should be. While, on the one hand, boys are often told not to cry, girls are often framed as sensitive, emotional and weak.

Moreover, in Asian countries, girls and women in families are not allowed to express their opinions and raise their voices for change. Thus, the psychological well-being of the female gender has often been compromised by social customs and traditions. A study by STEER Education found that girls’ mental health is “at the precipice”, with tens of thousands now hiding signs of deep distress from their teachers and parents.

The UK-based study also raises similar concerns in Asian and South Asian households where many girls drop out of school and sacrifice their education due to lack of basic amenities. The study found that 11-year-old girls were now 30% more likely to suffer from poor mental health than boys of the same age. By the time girls turn 18, they were now more than twice as likely to have poor mental health as boys of the same period. Additionally, the pandemic has affected the mental health of girls more negatively than that of boys.

Girls are now 33% more likely to have mental health issues

Girls were now 33% more likely to have mental health problems than those of the same age in the pre-pandemic era. Compared to 2018, boys and girls are now 40% less trusting of others, 25% less likely to take risks and 25% less able to choose an appropriate and measured response to life’s daily challenges. Women and girls in India are attempting suicide at an alarming rate.A study published by the Lancet Public Health found that Indian women contributed to more than 36% of female suicide deaths globally, despite making up only 18% of the world’s population.

The Global Health Data Exchange provides a database that can track global health trends and demographics. According to the database, India has the highest suicide rate among young and middle-aged women for countries with similar socio-demographic characteristics. After independence, India made significant progress in women’s inclusion and gender inequality. Therefore, as women became more educated and empowered in the country, arranged marriages declined significantly. However, in several sections, women still have a lower status and suffer from a lack of opportunities.

Vikram Patel, professor of global health at Harvard University, said: “Deaths from suicide are also a product of the method used.” In the West, as women attempt more suicide, men use more lethal methods, leading to more deaths. On the other hand, in India both men and women use lethal methods. Suicide death rates in India are among the highest in the world. A large proportion of suicides occur at younger ages, especially among women. Many of India’s suicides are preventable, starting with controlling access to pesticides.

India has one of the highest suicide rates in the world

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that nearly 900,000 people worldwide die each year by suicide, including around 200,000 in China, around 1,70,000 in India and 1,40,000 in high-income countries. India relies heavily on the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) for data regarding suicides, which is grossly underreported. Puberty occurs in girls earlier than in boys. Therefore, girls become aware of their body language and appearance earlier than boys experience the biological changes.

Additionally, 21st century teens have to keep pace with the rapidly changing digital world, coupled with social media, which further adds to the pressure. In recent times, mental health has become one of the most frequently discussed topics at public gatherings, seminars and workshops. The National Mental Health Survey, 2015-16, shows that 9.8 million adolescents aged 13-17 suffer from depression and other mental health issues and are in “need of active intervention”.

The pressure to meet heightened expectations, the inability to challenge various gender stereotypes, the absence of avenues for dialogue or discussion about health, and the lack of access to qualified and friendly therapists or counselors are some -one of the few causes of the deterioration of mental health in young girls. and women. One of the most common discussions that arise when looking at youth mental health issues is “why” the problem is. Like any other physical illness, mental health problems do not always need to have a designated root cause.

Causes of Mental Health Disorders in Teens

Childhood trauma, excessive pressure to be the best, peer pressure, being bullied, body shame and not being from a financially secure background are the most common examples. common trigger points for several teenagers. Mental health problems among young people are catastrophic because they make them vulnerable to drug addiction and alcoholism.

As times change and both parents work, they lose what their children see and do on the Internet. Therefore, the need of the hour involves a collective effort by teachers and parents to get involved in children’s lives and know what is going on. Additionally, adults need to understand that as times change, the emotional needs of children also change. Therefore, approaching children in a friendly way and giving them responsibilities could help them improve their self-esteem and increase their self-confidence.

Also Read: Over 800 Newborns, 61 Pregnant Women Died Due to Denied Admission During COVID


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