Are we on the Verge of a Mental Health Crisis Among Girls?

I’m not one to freak out easily or feel overly anxious; however, over the last month I have noticed myself taking on some of my client’s symptoms of anxiety.  I am concerned and a bit freaking out over the increase in the number of calls/messages to our offices over concerns for so many girls who are suffering right now.  One of my favorite books by Dr. Brené Brown, “The Gifts of Imperfection,” has one ask two questions:

  • Do I have all the information to freak out?
  • Will freaking out be helpful?

So, I did a quick search on google to see if what we are seeing in our offices in Austin and Houston has some data to support it.  Here are some statistics I found based on a couple of articles:

  • The percentage of younger children and adolescents hospitalized for suicidal thoughts or actions in the US doubled over the last decade, with the largest increase among girls aged 14-17. Additionally, fall seems to be the time of year when mental health crises come to a head.
  • A UK study reveals that the number of times girls aged 17 and younger have been admitted to the hospital has increased over the last decade by 68%.
  • The UK also surveyed 30,000 students aged 14-15 and found that one in three girls suffer from anxiety and depression. Out of the girls surveyed, 37% had three or more signs of psychological distress, compared to 15% of boys.

If the data from the UK is similar to US, (haven’t found any similar studies in the US yet) then it seems like we do have some data to support that girls are suffering more so now than ever.
I know that FREAKING OUT is not the answer and even when totally justified, it is never helpful. Here’s what I know to do:

  • Calm myself down with a mantra meditation. This is a great tool that I learned from Gabby  Bernstein:
  • Remember that I AM ONE PERSON–making change starts with me being the best mental health provider I can be. Many of you I know are also doing all that you can to support your daughters, students and clients.  While none of us can solve the problem by ourselves, each of us doing our part will make ripples that grow into an ocean of change.

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