- Rates of depression and anxiety among teenagers have increased by 70 per cent in the past 25 years.
- The number of children and young people turning up in A&E with a psychiatric condition has more than doubled since 2009.
- In the past three years, hospital admissions for teenagers with eating disorders have also almost doubled.
- In a 2016 survey for Parent Zone, 93 per cent of teachers reported seeing increased rates of mental illness among children and teenagers and 90 per cent thought the issues were getting more severe, with 62 per cent dealing with a pupil’s mental-health problem at least once a month and an additional 20 per cent doing so on a weekly or even daily basis.
Mental health such a current topic, and this article publishing stats from The Guardian brings to light the problems many teenagers in society face. I searched for measures of depression (just to find out about the boundaries and tests), and found a test for depression that is entirely for paediatric (child) patients:
Paediatric Index of Emotional Distress (PI-ED) is a valid and reliable self-rating scale that screens children and young people for emotional distress.
The PI-ED assesses psychological distress using one brief questionnaire, comprising 14 questions that are presented on one page. It asks children and young people about their symptoms of anxiety and depression. A concrete cut-off score then clearly identifies individuals most in need of further clinical assessment and intervention.
There is a question of whether teenagers today do suffer from more mental illnesses, or whether they are more likely to seek help from medical professionals now so more cases are recorded.
Either way, various news articles pointing out flaws in the mental health system almost victimize sufferers, for example, by using extreme examples of;
“The “cannibal killer” case of Peter Bryan – a mental health patient who police found eating one of his victims – shows the mental health system is struggling, campaigners say.”
“Mental health campaigners have blamed flaws in the system for the fact that a schizophrenic man was able to walk out of a psychiatric hospital and kill.”
(both from the BBC website, 2005). These examples misrepresent sufferers of mental disorders hugely, almost insinuating that they are cold blooded murderers who will kill you after a single meeting of the eyes. This is so unfair.
However, things have changed since 2005 – mental illnesses are being recognised now as equal to physical disabilities. This will allow great steps to be made in terms of research and tackling mental illness.