Great Britain

Girls’ mental health plummets in their early teens — with the decline fuelled by social media

MENTAL HEALTH HIT

GIRLS’ mental health plummets in their early teens — with the decline fuelled by social media.

Experts say there is a “big drop” in personal wellbeing and self-esteem from the age of around 14.

Depression worsens in girls into their later teens when they are more likely to feel worthless and unhappy with their looks — with regular scrolling through social media a main cause.

A sharp difference exists with boys whose main worry is if they are thought to be less clever.

The study, by the Education Policy Institute and The Prince’s Trust, looked at the experiences of youngsters aged 11, 14 and 17.

It came as separate research revealed that the pandemic has left one in six children battling mental health problems — with isolation, lack of sport and school closures to blame.

Whitney Crenna-Jennings, of the EPI, said: “This research shows that the mental health of young people in Generation Z deteriorates markedly as they enter their teenage years.

“Girls in particular see a big drop in their personal wellbeing and self-esteem from around the age of 14.

“Poverty, heavy use of social media and lack of physical exercise are factors.

“Young people face significant challenges at this stage . . . but this generation have also had to deal with a pandemic that will have starved them of vital relationships and experiences needed to support their journey through adolescence.”

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