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  • Steven Robinson
    Steven Robinson

    The Unmet Needs of Teen Girls: A Look Into the Crisis of 2021

    The year 2020 has been a difficult year for everyone across all demographics. The sweeping changes of our lives has taken its toll on all of us but especially the most fragile among us – teenagers. According to a survey conducted by the World Health Organization in 2021, nearly 60 percent of teen girls said that they had persistently felt sad or hopeless over the past year, up from just 36 percent who reported the same a decade ago. This alarming statistic is indicative of an ongoing crisis that impacts our teen girls to this day – but why are teen girls in particular suffering from such depression and anxiety?

    Though there are many contributing factors to this growing mental health epidemic, one of the main causes is the unmet needs of our young people. Unfortunately, many forces in society continue to let down teen girls as they make their transition into adulthood. For example, media bombards young women with unrealistic body images, creating a standard of beauty that many teens feel they cannot meet. This feeling of inadequacy prevents teen girls from exploring their own self-confidence and identity, making it difficult to express themselves or feel comfortable in their own skin.

    Furthermore, due to limited access to comprehensive sex education, teen girls may find themselves in compromising positions when it comes to relationships and intimacy. Without the proper knowledge, young girls can be left without options when it comes to protecting themselves and their futures - making them more prone to exploitation and assault. Moreover, due to the split family dynamic that is becoming increasingly common, young women often lack elders or authority figures to look up to, leading to issues with respect and boundaries. This vacuum of care and guidance can further lead to negative coping mechanisms such as alcohol or substance abuse.

    However, there are ways to help teenage girls get back on track to a healthy and productive adulthood. Medical organizations strive to provide teens with resources, such as peer connections, counseling, support groups, and access to medication in order to unravel feelings of depression and anxiety. Equally important is teaching teen girls about general life skills, such as budgeting, time management, and the power of communication, which can help them to become independent adults.

    While teenage girls are in need of support to help them reach their full potential, it is also important to recognize the power within themselves. For too long, society has been telling teenage girls that they need to fit a certain image in order to be happy and successful. Instead, we must make sure to remind teenage girls that their value lies not in what they look like or how they act, but in the beautiful and unique individuals that they already are. By providing teen girl with the support and empowerment to be their true selves, we can work together to create a healthier, happier future.

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