While this is in no way meant to minimize the social pressures many young men face today, the reality is that young women seem to face much more social scrutiny. Sadly, this excess in scrutiny and social stressors have led a significant number of young women to struggle with mental health issues. Most commonly, these young women struggle with anxiety and depression.
The Role of Social Media
If you log into any of the major social media platforms of today (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc.), you will see a slew of videos that display unrealistic female body standards and seriously under-researched (if at all) and potentially dangerous tips on how to attain the perfect body. The issue is that after being inundated with this content day in and day out, young women can’t help but attach their self-worth to their body image.
Due to the unrealistic and often edited nature of the content girls are consuming, the image that they are presented with is literally physically unattainable. When this realization sets in, it leads to self-consciousness, low-self esteem, and often anxiety and depression.
The sad truth is that young women do have significantly higher instances of anxiety and depression than their young male counterparts. One of the reasons for this is the higher standard that society puts on young women to look and act a different way. Some of the other reasons are long-cemented social disenfranchisements and biological realities. This is why we here at Clearview Girls Academy have made it our mission to help young women struggling with issues of dependency and mental illness get back on their feet and headed down the positive path of recovery
Understanding Anxiety and Depression
First off, it is important to understand that anxiety and depression are not merely everyday emotions. Yes, everyone may feel instances of anxiety and depression from time to time. However, the anxiety and depression that we are discussing here are the more severe forms that qualify as recognized mental illnesses.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describe depression and anxiety as more than just feeling down or having a bad day. Rather it is, according to the CDC, “when a sad mood lasts for a long time and interferes with normal, everyday functioning.”
You see, anxiety and depression have the tendency to be minimized because everyone gets sad sometimes. However, the key to understanding the disorders of anxiety and depression is that they last longer than a few days and they interfere continuously with everyday life. This is when it is time to seek help.
The Causes of Anxiety and Depression
As with any mental health issue, there can be many causes that underlie anxiety and depression. Those causes can be both internal and external. According to the CDC, some causes of anxiety and depression can be:
- Familial, such as having relatives that have experienced mental health issues in the past
- Experiencing traumatic events, which may include the death of a loved one, financial struggles, or emotional, physical, or sexual abuse
- Going through major life changes, such as a move, a career change, or a change in relationship status
- Experiencing a serious medical event or trauma, such as being diagnosed with a serious illness or having a stroke or heart attack
- Certain medications can have side effects that can cause anxiety and depression, which is why it is critical that girls talk to their doctors if they are experiencing any symptoms that might be related to their medications
- Excessive drinking and other life-controlling issues
Certainly, those are causes of anxiety and depression that can affect anyone. However, there are also specific causes that directly affect young women, including some of the social expectations we previously mentioned.
The Truth About Young Women and Anxiety and Depression
According to an article in the Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience, “Depression is more than twice as prevalent in young women than men (ages 14 – 25 yr), but this ratio decreases with age… Importantly, before puberty, girls and boys have similar rates of depression; the rate is perhaps even higher for boys.”
Why is it that anxiety and depression increase in young women after puberty hits? Yes, there are some biological factors, but primarily we feel it goes back to those unreasonable social standards.
Help Is Available for Young Girls
The good news is that there is help for those young women struggling with anxiety and depression. Here at Clearview Girls Academy, we use an individualized approach to treat our students according to their needs. However, within all of our approaches is the goal of building our students’ self-worth, restoring their self-confidence, and strengthening their self-esteem.
Too often young women come to our care feeling as though they are not being heard. They feel as though they have no one to turn to because all they consume is artificial empty content online. We want them to know that they have a voice, and we want to hear them proclaim, “I am worthy, I am sacred, I am loved!” Because, here at Clearview Girls Academy, they truly are.
Specifically focusing on treating young women, we here at Clearview Girls Academy understand the type of pressures and mental strain that are particularly affecting the female adolescent population. With the social media boom in the last few years, new perceived social expectations have brought about an increase in mental health issues for many young women. Issues of body self-consciousness and unreasonable and risky social demands are creating an increased need for emotional and mental help. Our goal is to offer this help in the short term and also offer the tools that will help our students navigate these types of negative influences in the future. For more information, please contact Clearview Girls Academy today at (888) 796-5484.