Jessica Southgate on the mental health crisis among young women and girls, Mike Stein on the plight of young people generally, and Michael Heaton on the use of photographs that aggravate the problems of self-image among girls

It is extremely concerning, but unfortunately not surprising, that so many girls are self-harming (Report, 29 August). This adds to a growing body of evidence of a mental health crisis among young women and girls, with depression as well as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at alarming rates. Body image, pressures at school and gender stereotypes are rightly cited as possible explanations, but they are not the full story.

The sexualisation of girls, the pressures they face around sex, and particularly the alarming levels of sexual and other forms of violence they experience, must be a key part of the conversation. If we continue to bury our heads in the sand on this issue, self-harm figures will continue to rise.

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Mental health is a level of psychological well-being, or an absence of a mental disorder; it is the "psychological state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioral adjustment".

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19 March 2019