Goth subculture may indicate which young people need mental health support

People who strongly identify as goths are more likely to be at risk of mental health issues, a report from the University of Bristol has found.

Goth subculture is one which often has bad press, but it has been found that teenagers who identify as being part of this subculture have a three times higher risk of suffering from depression, compared to their peers.

Furthermore, they were five times more likely to self harm than non-goths.

Goths are usually identified by black clothing, striking make-up, and intricate and complicated accessories and hair styles. Often, goth style takes inspiration from the Victorian period and religious iconography, and is all drawn together by a genre of music.

However, even though young people who are goths are more likely to suffer from these kinds of mental health problems, it is not right to assume that being a goth causes a young person to have mental health difficulties.

“Teenagers who are susceptible to depression or with a tendency to self harm may be attracted to the goth subculture, which is known to embrace marginalised individuals,” explained Rebecca Pearson, co-author on the study.

Subcultures are incredibly significant among young people, especially in schools. They could hold the key to targeting mental health support, which is so obviously needed, to the right people. However, it is a fine line to walk between offering support to those in need, and picking on a person’s style and judging them for who they are.

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