Teens who ‘sext’ at risk of depression, psychiatrist claims: A psychiatrist from the Priory Hospital in Roehampton, Natasha Bijlani, has warned that teenagers who engage in ‘sexting’ are at a greater risk of developing depression in later life.
Bijlani defined ‘sexting’ as the act of sharing explicit photos of themselves with their peers. She went on to say that ‘sexting’ is seen as the new courtship among young people by some commentators, despite the fact that its effects can have disastrous consequences for the individuals involved.
Dr Bijlani stated that ‘sexting seems to have become endemic’.
When looking at data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre, it transpires that emergency admissions to hospital for psychiatric conditions increased to a figure of 17,278 in 2014, twice the number of those admitted for psychiatric conditions 4 years prior.
The data also showed that there were 15,668 admissions of females aged between 15 and 19 for self-harm, including burning and cutting – a vast increase from the figures of 2004, which showed 9,255 admissions.
The NSPCC has warned that young people and children need help as soon as possible.
In addition, figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that one fifth of young people, aged between 16 and 24, had experienced symptoms of anxiety, stress or depression.
The Priory Group – a provider of mental health services for children and adults – has claimed that they have witnessed a clear increase in 12 to 17 year olds being admitted for acute depression and anxiety problems, from 178 in 2010, to 262 in 2014.
Dr Bijlani suggests that these people would have been among the first users of social networking websites.
Peter Wanless, CEO of the NSPCC, said of the issue of mental illness in children: “A rising number of children contact ChildLine because they have mental health issues and just as worrying is the lack of executive services to help them.
“We know that some children who have been abused, bullied or relentlessly harassed to send sexual images of themselves sometimes resort to self-harming and others are having their futures jeopardised by depression.
“Whatever the reason, we must tackle the root causes and invest in support that helps them as early as possible.
“If we ignore this problem, we risk leaving a generation on the brink of despair.”
For more information on this topic, we have previously covered a survey based on ‘Sexting’ on this blog.
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