Emotional Problems Rise Amongst Scottish 15 Year Olds: According to a new report prepared for the Scottish Government, there has been a rise in the number of fifteen year old girls in Scotland experiencing problems with emotional and mental health. The report, titled ‘The Mental Health and Wellbeing among Adolescents in Scotland’ suggested that this specific group was suffering much poorer mental health when compared to other demographic groups within the sample.
The research, which looked at trends in the mental health of boys and girls between the ages of thirteen and fifteen from 2006 to 2013, found that between 2010 and 2013, the number of fifteen year old girls with a ‘borderline or abnormal emotional problems score’ rose from slightly more than a quarter (28%) to more than two fifths (41%).
When considering overall mental health and wellbeing, the figures have risen by 10% – with 29% of fifteen year old girls being abnormal/borderline in 2010, compared to 39% in 2013.
In terms of the factors which influence mental and emotional health, the research found that friendships and a positive experience of school were the two elements most closely associated with mental wellbeing. Other factors which had an influence on a positive mental health score were the expectation of attending university, and belonging to a club of some sort.
Findings suggested that those individuals in higher levels of deprivation and with poorer levels of physical health are correlated with a lower level of mental wellbeing – although the overall level of mental wellbeing among adolescents in Scotland has remained ‘largely stable’ since 2006.
However, emotional health and peer relationships have worsened at an overall level, with the report authors attributing this in a large part to an increase in the health of these attributes among fifteen year old girls.
This research follows a report from the University of St Andrews, which found that more than half of fifteen year old girls in Scotland have two or more health complaints a week, and that substantially more girls reported stress, nervousness, low mood and medicine use than did boys.
According to the University of St Andrews, the proportion of young people who felt ‘very happy’ with their life reduced as age increased – falling from almost three fifths (59%) of eleven year olds to around a quarter of fifteen year olds (27%).
Speaking about the figures provided to the Scottish Government, health spokesman for the Scottish Conservative’s, Jackson Carlaw, said the research was ‘alarming’, and that whilst extra funding for mental health support would be welcomed, it must be accompanied by an effort on a national scale to ‘overcome the residual stigma and prejudice.’
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