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GIRLS GROWING UP TOO FAST

A study by Girlguiding reveals 3 leading potential "triggers" for serious mental health problems in girls: premature sexualization, commercialization and alcohol misuse. The report reveals a loss of childhood innocence and says girls today experience high levels of "stress, anxiety and unhappiness." Premature sexualization and pressure to grow up too quickly are 2 key influences in the anxiety felt by girls. The study, funded by the Girl Guides and the Mental Health Foundation, found 66% of the girls surveyed feel "anger and sadness" at least some of the time, and 50% find those feelings difficult to manage. 25% are "often worried," while 50% find their anxiety hard to handle. Many have friends or family members who have suffered mental health problems. 40% know someone who has self-harmed, 33% had a friend who suffered from an eating disorder and 40% know someone who has experienced panic attacks. 25% know someone who has taken illegal drugs, while 40% have experienced someone drinking too much alcohol. They see supportive families and friendship groups as the "most important factor" in dealing with these problems. Girls are especially under pressure to look like the celebrities they see in magazines and on TV. 66% admit they felt worse about themselves when they saw pictures of models in magazines and on TV. (LifeSite News 7/14/08)

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