Unhappiness rife among girls


The Girls in Scotland survey has revealed an alarming amount of girls struggle to feel happy

10th October 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

More needs to be done to support girls with their mental health, a charity has claimed.

A worrying 15% of girls aged seven to 25 report feeling unhappy most of the time, research from Girlguiding Scotland has revealed.

This finding comes from the Girls in Scotland 2018 survey which captured the views of over 500 girls in Scotland on what it’s like growing up as a girl today.

The survey also reveals that as girls get older their happiness declines. Just two in five girls aged seven to 11 described themselves as “very happy”, falling to just one in five girls among those age 18-25.

More cause for concern can be seen in the high number of girls aged 13-25 who report knowing another girl their age who has experienced depression (77%), anxiety (68%) and self-harm (63%).

From the pressure to do well at school, to worrying about their appearance, the demands of everyday life are having real consequences for girls’ wellbeing. This World Mental Health Day (10 October) the charity is calling for a more holistic approach to promoting well-being and resilience, rather than viewing mental health in isolation.

Katie Young, age 21 and a leader in training from the 12th Clydebank Guides said: “Our Girls in Scotland research shows that girls and young women are becoming unhappier as they get older. This is down to a whole host of issues, including the pressure to do well at school, worrying about what they look like and being bullied.

“This has a serious impact on girls' wellbeing and is holding them back from living their lives to the fullest. It’s imperative that we listen to girls and young women and take them seriously when they tell us what action needs to be taken to improve the mental health and wellbeing of girls and young women."

Girlguiding Scotland offers girls the chance to take part in its Think Resilient programme. This is a badge programme from Girlguiding which gives girls a space to talk about their mental wellbeing and resilience. It aims to help girls age 10 and up boost their mental well-being, find positive ways to deal with day to day pressures and encourage them to speak to someone they trust about what’s on their mind. Activities include positive thinking; self-calming techniques and identifying support networks.

Academics from the University of Edinburgh and the University of Glasgow have also found taking part in groups such as the guides, may help to lower the risk of mental illness in later life.