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(UK) Mental health crisis for girls: self-harm, depression, attempted suicide

Sept 23, 2017, The UK Guardian: Schools fear impact of budget cuts amid girls' mental health crisis https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/sep/23/mental-health-issues-soar-among-girls-state-school-budget-cuts In a girls’ school on the fringes of London, the headteacher and her deputy are contemplating the challenges their pupils face, and the toll it takes on them every day. They describe self-harm, eating disorders, depression, panic attacks, school refusal and attempted suicide. Where do the roots of the problem lie? “I’ve been in teaching 40 years,” says the headteacher. “I’ve never known this level of dysfunction in society.” This is a comprehensive state school with a good reputation. It gets good results and has a typically mixed intake of pupils. But like many other schools, it is increasingly being called on to support children with mental health issues. And, like many others, its staff are warning that the squeeze on their budgets is leading to cuts in vital pastoral support.... Self-harm is one of the methods girls are using to cope with their distress. “We have girls who scratch and cut; we have girls who pull out their hair and their eyelashes. Traditionally, it used to be wrists they cut. It’s thighs now, and tummies ... anywhere which can’t be seen.” Their weapons of choice may be the contents of their pencil case: compass points, the blades from pencil sharpeners, paper clips. The head and her deputy estimate that around 25-30% of their girls are suffering from mental health issues of one kind or another. At the most severe end of the scale they have two girls who are sectioned and in hospital after trying to kill themselves as a result of an internet suicide game. … Social media presents an endlessly shifting landscape, with new crazes rapidly taking hold in classrooms and staff lagging weeks behind.. …