As a mom of two daughters, I’m mindful of how girls today have more opportunity than ever. In fact, I tell my girls this all the time: They can be anything they want and shatter any glass ceiling, even the highest one, the presidency.
Be confident and speak up, and you can achieve great things, we tell our girls. You can play any sport, join any after-school club, volunteer for any cause and get the grades. In fact, girls are regularly outperforming boys in school and enrolling in higher numbers in college.
It’s a great time to be a girl — or is it? Because behind all these possibilities is a troubling development: Girls’ anxiety and depression are climbing and increasingly turning tragic.
Between 2007 and 2015, the suicide rate for girls between the ages of 15 and 19 doubled, reaching a 40-year high in 2015, according to new data from the National Center for Health Statistics.
“I think no one can dispute the wholesale kind of collapse of girls’ wellness right now,” said bestselling author Rachel Simmons, who has been working with and doing research on girls for the past two decades.
“It’s really a crisis. I don’t think I’m overstating it. Everywhere I go, I hear about levels of anxiety that are so crippling that it makes it hard for teachers to teach, and we can’t not pay attention to this anymore.”
Simmons points to the findings of a 2015 freshman survey by UCLA of 150,000 full-time students at more than 200 colleges and universities.