Home, school and social media pressures contributing to teenage depression, Suffolk health bosses say

Around one in four girls show significant signs of depression by the age of 14, new research has found. Picture: Getty Images

Around one in four girls show significant signs of depression by the age of 14, new research has found. Picture: Getty Images - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Health bosses in Suffolk have said social media, home and school pressures are contributing to depression after new research has revealed that nearly a quarter of girls show significant symptoms by the age of 14.

Research published by the UCL Institute for Education revealed that by the age of 14, when youngsters were able to report their own symptoms, 24% of girls were suffering from 'high symptoms of depression' compared to 9% of their male peers.

Health services in Suffolk said they worked hard to ensure youngsters could access support as well as adults, but pressures at home or school as well as finances and social media issues could cause symptoms.

Margaret Little, deputy director of operations in Suffolk at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, which runs mental health services, said: 'Anxiety, depression and low mood are the most common emotional wellbeing and mental health issues young people face.

'Events at home, school and within peer groups can be the backdrop to these. Life can be complicated by the pressures young people and their families experience such as financial burden, social media and physical health issues.

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'Keeping up open communication with a young person is really important. A variety of emotions can be part of everyday life; however, if a young person is frequently and significantly affected then help might be needed.'

Among the measures made available were advice from the Wellbeing Service where a range of therapies were available, while the ChatHealth text-based service through school nurses allowed youngsters to get guidance on mental health issues.

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A five-year plan for children and young people's emotional health and wellbeing is already under way, with a multi-agency wellbeing hub to be established.

A Suffolk County Council spokesman added: 'Suffolk County Council is working closely with clinical commissioning groups and providers to deliver the five-year children and young people emotional wellbeing and mental health improvement plans, and as part

of this provides a suite of training for staff in schools and other services in mental health awareness and how to identify and respond to concerns when they arise.'

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