Deprivation and bad school experiences can negatively impact the mental health of teenagers in Scotland, a report by the Scottish Government has found.
The report, Mental health and wellbeing among adolescents in Scotland, found that pupils in the most deprived quintile of the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) were 50% more likely than those in the least deprived quintile to have borderline or abnormal scores for mental health and wellbeing.
‘We know that the patterns and prevalence of different mental health problems through childhood and adolescence vary according to age, gender and deprivation,’ said Jamie Hepburn, the Scottish Government minister for sport, health improvement and mental health. ‘It is essential that services match their interventions to this dynamic background.’
A pattern was also noticed in attitudes towards education. Pupils who said that they did not like school were over four times more likely to have borderline or abnormal scores than those who said that they liked school a lot. ‘Every school in Scotland has access to a specialist in mental health, who can be contacted for advice and on-going support if teachers have concerns about any pupils,’ the report said.
The report also observed a significant difference in the mental health of 15-year-old girls and other demographic groups. It showed that this group appeared to be suffering much poorer mental health than others, with cases of emotional problems rising from 28% in 2010 to 41% in 2013.
‘The apparent increase in the number of 15-year-old girls who are experiencing emotional problems is something that we will look at carefully,’ Mr Hepburn added. ‘We have seen a significant increase in the number of young people asking for help with their mental health in recent years, which may be attributable to greater awareness and lower stigma.’