CHICAGO, Aug. 21, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- According to recent government statistics, suicide rates among girls between the ages of 15 and 19 reached an all-time high in 2015 for a 40-year period beginning in 1975. We all need to be asking why.
"There continues to be a lot of pressure on young women to be perfect," said Melissa O'Neill, LCSW, director of program development at Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center, located outside of Chicago. "This is definitely increased due to social media and the perception that everyone has the perfect clothes, body, relationship, grades and life."
Responsible for the vision and curriculum for all group therapy programming at Timberline Knolls, O'Neill treats women and adolescent girls struggling with eating disorders, addiction, trauma, mood and other co-occurring disorders.
This is "back-to-school" season throughout our country—the time when adolescents and young women return to high school, or enter college for the first time. This is often a time of extreme pressure and stress.
"This pursuit of perfectionism can definitely feed into increased anxiety and depression," adds O'Neill. "As children return to school, it's time to take a serious look at the risk factors: our extreme focus on achievement, performance and perfectionism. Our young people become far too stressed too early about grades. In high school, a 4.0 grade point average is no longer good enough. Now with advanced placement classes, teens are encouraged to get 4.5 or 4.6 GPAs."
The pressure to perform only increases for many young women when they go to college. Add that to the necessity for girls to be popular, attractive, and most of all thin, and a perfect storm can ensue. Young female college students often get caught up in eating disorders as a method to cope with this immense pressure and/or prescription pharmaceuticals like Adderall to maintain their academic "edge" while also keeping their weight in check.
"Life isn't perfect and neither are we," adds O'Neill. "This pursuit of perfection is not attainable. We need to be more compassionate with ourselves. If you're struggling, or if you know someone who is struggling, there is help."
About Timberline Knolls:
Timberline Knolls is a leading private residential treatment center for women and adolescent girls (ages 12 – 65+) with eating disorders, substance abuse, trauma, mood and co-occurring disorders. Located in suburban Chicago, residents receive excellent clinical care from a highly trained professional staff on a picturesque 43-acre wooded campus. An adult partial hospitalization program is also available on campus for step down as well as in Orland Park, Ill., for women to direct admit. For more information on Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center, call us at 877.257.9611. We are also on Facebook – Timberline Knolls, LinkedIn – Timberline Knolls and Twitter - @TimberlineToday.