New data released by NHS Digital has shown key progressions in the state of mental health throughout England. Described by the BBC as a comprehensive and authoritative snapshot, the report has highlighted the ever-changing state of mental wellbeing since 1993.
Carried out every seven years, the most recent report didn’t show a ‘dramatic’ rise in the prevalence of mental illness in participants, though it did spotlight a high-risk category: women aged between 16 and 24. The group that was classified ‘high risk’, with one in five women reporting a common mental disorder, including general anxiety disorders (GAD) and depression. In addition, the group showed high rates of self-harm, post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar.
To surmise, the new data from the NHS study found 12.6% of women aged 16-24 screen positive for PTSD, 19.7% self-harm and 28.2% have mental health condition. In a broader sense, the general proportion of self-harming reporting was 6%, up from 4% in 2007 and 2% in 2000. While some researchers suggest this could be attributed to an increase in an individual’s likelihood to report such occurrences, the sharp increase between 2007 and 2014 can’t be ignored.
Sally McManus, the survey’s lead researcher, said: “We know that there are things like violence and abuse that are strongly associated with mental illness.” But, she added: “This is also the age of social media ubiquity. This is the context that [young women] are coming into and it warrants further research.”
McManus’ words echoed Stephen Buckley’s, Head of Information at Mind, a UK mental health facility. Speaking on the “surge” in social media use, he said: “It can help people feel less isolated, particularly those who struggle to make and maintain relationships or who find it difficult to leave their homes. But it also comes with some risks. Its instantaneous and anonymous nature means it’s easy for people to make hasty and sometimes ill-advised comments that can negatively affect other people’s mental health.”
If you or someone you know is struggling, seek help. Beyond Blue is a good place to start. They offer 24/7 hotline advice on 1300 22 4636, and a chat service available every day from 3:00 PM until 12:00 AM (AEDST) via their website.