Why is it important to focus on teenagers struggling with low self-esteem? Well a 23 year longitudinal study showed that adolescents who had low self-esteem developed depression in adulthood. Low self-esteem has also been linked to adolescent suicides, depression and feelings of hopelessness, they are more likely to use and abuse alcohol and drugs. It has also been linked to pregnancy and unprotected sex. Studies have also shown that it is more difficult for those with low self-esteem to form close attachments, having anxiety and a more distorted view of themselves. So why are we not doing more to support the adolescents in our community?
At high school I struggled with confidence, self-esteem and friendship groups. I always felt the underdog of the group, felt judged and never good enough. There wasn’t a support system within the school that I felt I could turn to, when I did they didn’t see a problem as my grades were fine, I was attending school so it wasn’t considered an issue to work on. So, to make sure I could have a place in my friendship group I lied, immersed myself in the negative trends, gave into peer pressure.
Yet in school, I could see others struggling to find their place, to find themselves. Growing up is hard enough as it is without the added pressures. Eating disorders, self harm and alcohol use was on the rise from year 9. There was no where to turn to talk to anyone about peer pressure, about confidence, about how to deal with difficult situations. I think these are valuable life skills that schools should be teaching, don’t get me wrong, schools do talk and teach about it in year 7, but let’s be fair no one is going to remember or even take it seriously. There needs to be a stronger importance on helping girls with their confidence.
84% of women agreed that self-confidence comes from feeling happy and in control of yourself. 75% say how they look doesn’t influence whether they feel confident or sexy.
We should be teaching girls in schools how to be self-aware, self-acceptance, self-reliance. Teaching girls how to leave friendship groups that they feel aren’t benefiting them, I think if this support system was in place during my school it would have helped massively, a place I could go to talk to someone that wasn’t a teacher, but was approachable person independent from the school. I have spoke to several young girls at my old school, current and previous students, the feedback I have got is phenomenal. Nearly 80% said they would have loved a system like this in place at school.
Thus, I am trying to start a support system that will help young girls develop confidence and self esteem and hopefully learn a few life lessons along the way. Teach them to look at what makes them unique, how to think positively, how to appreciate their own personality. I am currently in conversations and meetings with my old high school in hope to get this started in the next academic year. FINGERS CROSSED.
If you would like to give me a helping hand then please donate to this great cause:
Everything is appreciated. It is time for change.