Generation Z are more likely to self harm and suffer depression than Millennials

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Generation Z are more likely to self harm and suffer depression than Millennials

New research from University College London suggests depression and self-harm among teenagers are on the rise.

The study of more than 19,000 14 year olds, found far more were likely to suffer from poor body image, compared to a decade ago, while a larger percentage of parents say their children are dealing with emotional and friendship issues.

The first set of 5,627 were born in 1991-92, while the second set of 11,318 were born a decade later in 2000-02.

While girls from both groups were more likely than boys to be depressed and to self-harm, the rate at which these problems were rising was the same for both genders, researchers said.

Parents were also around twice as likely to report their youngster having emotional difficulties, behavioural problems and issues with peer groups than those whose children were born in the early 1990s.

The research also found that teenagers nowadays are far more likely to skip the recommended eight hours of sleep, with 12% not having eight hours compared with 6% in the other group.

They were also more likely to be obese, while a greater proportion also saw themselves as overweight (up from 27% to 33%).

Experts concluded that poor sleep, obesity and poor body image are becoming more common, suggesting the risk factors associated with mental ill-health may be changing.

Dr Bernadka Dubicka, chairwoman of the child and adolescent faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: "This study is a wake-up call to the different pressures today's teenagers are under and the impact these may have on their mental health.

"We welcome NHS England's commitment to improving support for children and young people with mental illnesses in the NHS long-term plan, but to meet its aspirations focus is urgently needed on increasing numbers of skilled staff working in this area to ensure demand for services is met."

Dr Praveetha Patalay is an author of the study.

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