Charities warn of the risk the impacts of the pandemic pose to young women’s mental health as new research lays bare the connection between poverty and self-harm in young women.
- Young women (16–34) living in the most deprived households are five times more likely to self-harm, compared with those in the least.
- One in five women with severe money problems has self-harmed in past year.
- Those seriously behind on payments or who have had utilities disconnected three times more likely to have self-harmed.
- The charity is warning that the socio-economic impact of the Covid-19 health emergency could see an increase in levels of self-harm and poor mental health among young women unless economic inequalities are addressed.
Young women in England who face poverty and disadvantage are more likely to self-harm than young women in affluent households, new evidence published today by Agenda, the alliance for women and girls at risk and the National Centre of Social Research (NatCen), reveals.
The findings come at a time when the coronavirus outbreak is likely to cause more economic hardship and push people further into poverty, with women hit the hardest.
The charity is calling for an understanding of the impact poverty and disadvantage has on young women’s emotional wellbeing and mental health and for that consideration to be a core part of the response to the coronavirus outbreak.
This research, undertaken by analysts at NatCen, is one of the first to focus on connections between poverty and non-suicidal self-harm in young women across England. Based on new analysis of data from more than 20,000 people it shows that young women (aged 16 to 34) living in the most deprived households are five times more likely to self-harm, compared with those in the least.
Young women struggling with money problems and debt are at particular risk. One in five young women with ‘severe’ money problems has self-harmed in the past year, and those seriously behind with payments or who have had utilities disconnected were three times more likely to have self-harmed in the past year than other women.
Where young women live may also play a role. Self-harm was four times more common among those who said they did not feel safe in their neighbourhood in the day.
Kate*, 29, experiences anxiety, depression and complex PTSD, she says: