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Girls 'more likely than boys to say they have faced emotional problems'

One in four girls said they experiencing emotional problems compared to about one in 10 boys

GIRLS are more than twice as likely as boys to say they have faced emotional problems, new research has found.

Boys are also more likely to suffer behavioural difficulties, according to a study involving school pupils.

The study questioned thousands of 11-14 year olds taking part in the HeadStart programme.

HeadStart is a five-year, £56 million programme set-up by Big Lottery Fund, the largest funder of community activity in Britain and Northern Ireland.

It aims to build the emotional resilience and wellbeing of pupils and prevent serious mental health issues before they develop.

The research found that almost a fifth of those who took part indicated that they were experiencing emotional problems. This includes issues such as feeling anxious, worried, or feeling down.

One in four girls (24.9 per cent) said that they felt this way, compared to about one in 10 (10.9 per cent) boys.

The findings also showed that 18.8 per cent of all young people questioned said they had behavioural problems, such as feeling angry or lashing out. This was more common among boys than girls.

Dr Jess Deighton, who led the research, said the data could help people understand and respond to the mental health needs of children.

"What is particularly exciting about this research is that we have the opportunity to follow up with these young people for a long period of time to see how their mental health and well-being changes throughout this programme," she said.

"The most powerful findings from this research are that mental health problems amongst children and young people now appear to be at a worrying rate and that there is a strong and consistent association between deprivation and mental health problems."

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