NHS study finds 12.6% of women aged 16-24 screen positive for PTSD, 19.7% self-harm and 28.2% have mental health condition.
Sexual violence, childhood trauma and pressures from social media are being blamed for dramatic increases in the number of young women self-harming and having post-traumatic stress disorder or a chronic mental illness.
An inquiry into the state of mental health in England found alarming evidence that more women aged from 16 to 24 are experiencing mental health problems than ever before. “Young women have become a key high risk group,” it concluded.
Psychological distress is now so common that one in four in that age group have harmed themselves at some point, according to the government-funded Adult Psychiatric Morbidity survey. The number of women of that age who screened positive for PTSD has also trebled from 4.2% in 2007 to 12.6% – one in eight – in 2014, although the use of a more accurate screening tool in the new survey helps explain some of that rise.
It’s never been easy being a teenager. But is this now a generation in crisis?
Young women are more than three times as likely as their male peers to have PTSD; just 3.6% of men in the age group age had it, the report by NHS Digital said. In addition, women that age are more likely than any other group to have experienced a common mental disorder (CMD) in the past week, according to the in-depth study of 7,500 people of all ages. Researchers found that more than one in four (26%) of women aged 16 to 24 had anxiety, depression, panic disorder, phobia or obsessive compulsive disorder. Overall, 19% of women of all ages had one of those, compared with 12% of men.