TEEN HEALTH Published August24, 2015 By Milafel Hope Dacanay

Female Teens Struggle with Mental Illness as Parents Are Concerned of Other Worries

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Teenage Angst
(Photo : David Olius | Hulton Archive)

Parents are paying less attention to the mental health issues of their teenage girls, says one of the recent surveys.

Based on the survey conducted by Girlguiding, more than 55% of girls between the ages of 13 and 21 believed that problems affecting the mental health are serious. Further, no less than 35% claimed that they worried more on unemployment and cyberbullying than alcohol and drug use.

However, when asked about the support they were getting from their parents for their mental health issues, over 40% of them said their parents paid more attention to the teens' possible drug and alcohol use than their children's mental anguish. Parents were also fearful of unprotected sex and unwanted pregnancies.

Speaking on behalf of YoungMinds, a UK organization that promotes better emotional well-being and mental health among young people and children, Sarah Brennan, its chief executive, said the survey highlights the changing needs and challenges of present-day teens. Although the survey does not reduce the fact that substance abuse, smoking, and unprotected risky sex are also common problems, teens these days are facing contemporary issues such as harassment and eating disorders.

For example, in the same survey, fewer teens are considering smoking as a serious health issue. Meanwhile, almost 80% had grave concerns about self-harm. More teens today are also concerned of depression than 5 years ago.

These new issues, unfortunately, are not often discussed including in the household.

Both of the organizations call on providing adequate emotional support for the growing female teens. Girlguiding chief executive Julie Bentley stresses the importance of policies that will encourage the discussion of female teen concerns. Meanwhile, Brennan cites the need for the right and sufficient tools to help guardians, carers, and parents provide the necessary help to female teens, especially those who deal with mental illness. YoungMinds website contains plenty of information and reference materials for parents and professionals.   

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