Mental Health

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Mental Health

Your emotional health influences just about everything.  Emotions affect actions, moods, how we feel about ourselves, our friends and our environment.  Emotional health is a critical part of your well being. Research has shown that many girls who experience mental health problems continue to have these problems in adulthood and may suffer personal costs, including limited employment opportunities, reduced access to housing and strained family relationships.

Just the Facts!

When poor emotional health develops into mental illness, personal costs can include poverty, homelessness and social exclusion.  Canadian girls report more mental health issues than boys.  Beginning in grade 7, girls are more likely to report feeling helpless, feeling bad tempered or irritable more than once a week, and experiencing physical symptoms such as backache.

Self confidence tends to decline with age. Levels of self confidence for both boys and girls show a steady decrease between grades 6 and 10. Students’ positive ratings of their general health also tend to decline with age, although the differences are much less dramatic – from 90 to 86 percent for boys, and from 90 to 76 percent for girls. 

In addition to physiological issues, there are a number of societal factors that can cause mental health and strain resulting in low self esteem including:

  • Believing the negative and hurtful words and actions of others
  • Living with people who did not or do not love and respect themselves
  • Having negative thoughts about performance, looks, family income level, race, ethnicity and IQ
  • Being under or over protected as a child
  • Not being taught “I am good and of value and loved no matter what”
  • Doubting the love of one or both parents or feeling the absence of one
  • Being punished without ever being taught to separate self from bad behaviours
  • Being compared to others or to perfect standards that cannot be met
  • Thinking that “you” are your possessions, clothes, car, grades, job, looks or IQ.

Want to learn more?  Check out: Empowering Teens to Build Self Esteem, Suszanne E. Harrill, M.Ed., 1993.

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