August 03, 2006

One in Ten Children is Suffering Mental Mealth Problems, Poverty a Key Factor (UK)

A recent article out of Scotland (UK) addressed the issues of mental illness prevalence and treatment in children, as outlined in the British Medical Association's recently published Child and adolescent mental health report. Over 125,000 Scottish children require mental health treatment, and this poverty-stricken community (a factor that may increase risk and severity of mental illness, and is labeled as a key cause in this report) relays the message that their treatment must be multidimensional.

Anne Clarke, of Headsup Scotland, an Executive-funded task force on children's mental health, said a holistic approach was needed to tackle the issue. "Mental health for children requires strong families and networks and feelings of belonging in school," she said. "It includes good nutrition, exercise and sleep. In this way, it's like all health improvements: it requires us to address many elements of society."

Linda Dunion, the campaign director at SeeMe, which works to combat mental health stigmas in Scotland, said: "Young people's level of awareness about mental health problems and how they are treated is sometimes very poor. "Often, they won't even understand what is happening to them when they are suffering. Adults often don't know what they are seeing; they are sometimes at a loss as to what to do."

The BMA report highlights the increase in substance abuse in children, who are trying to “self medicate” their mental illness. The report recommends tackling mental illness stigma; in hopes of encouraging more youth to seek treatment, as well as making available a flexible service that suits a multitude of ages and lifestyles.

Read Full Article:

"One in ten children is suffering mental health problems" The Scotsman( June 21st 2006.

Read BMA Report:
(Note: The individual chapters of the report are on the right side of the web page you go to when you click on the following link).

Child and adolescent mental health – a guide for healthcare professionals(issued by BMA Scotland Tuesday 20 Jun 2006)

Download .pdf file of full report here - Child and adolescent mental health – a guide for healthcare professionals

Poverty and deprivation – key causes of mental health problems in children (issued by BMA Scotland Tuesday 20 Jun 2006)

Related News:

Australia Launches Major Program for Teen Mental Health
Improving Baby Mental Health - New Program for Parents

Minors in Adult Psychiatric Care
Child Psychiatrist Shortage in US


a ten percent rate of mental health problems in children seems like a very low rate compared to other studies. it depends on what disorders are considered to be 'mental health problems' and what ages of children one is referring to.

since the rate of child abuse is by some studies actually closer to 20 percent and higher according to some studies and what they define as abuse, one would expect a higher rate of mental health disorders (again, depending on what is included).

i don't feel that better exercise, sleep and food will address all problems. for example, if a child has an abusive parent, or schizophrenia, providing a gym class is not going to cut it. suggesting that these things will suffice is very misleading. too, it is not clear that exercise, food and sleep will prevent schizophrenia from developing. people like to think so, but there is no proof of that, and proof of that is unlikely to materialize at any time in the future.

nor do i feel improvements in these should be limited to those showing mental health issues or at risk for them. those need to be improved for all people and all children.

the safety and health of children can be negatively affected when local agencies don't remove children from abusive homes, many agencies have a trend to leave children with their parents that has become almost insane. too, many agencies are understaffed and problems aren't noticed til it's too late. lack of treatment of mental illness and substance abuse of adults affects their children too.

Posted by: slc2 at August 4, 2006 06:58 AM

I agree that 10% sounds fairly low. But if you read the article it states their statistic is based on children under the age of 15. Many disorders aren't fully diagnosed till adolescents or early adulthood (including schizophrenia). They do however utilize a very blanketed definition for mental disorder which is too long to post here, but outlined in the published report.

I do feel that better exercise, proper sleep, and a healthy diet can impact mental health issues. Time and again research is showing these factors may influence development or severity of mental illnesses. There are studies out there supporting nutrition's role in decreasing risk and severity of schizophrenia.

Once again I think its important to note that no one is stating these things are substitutions for proper medication and theraputic methods. They are simply saying these factors combined with traditional treatments can have a greater impact.

I do agree that child care for those with abusive/unhealthy families is not up to par. Each year treatment centers downsize, send children home, or to other less equipment treatment centers. Its very sad...I see it at my work every day.

Posted by: Michelle Roberts at August 7, 2006 08:55 PM

Thanks for a beautiful site! I have added you in elected!
Necessarily I shall advise your site to the friends!

Posted by: Jordon at June 16, 2008 08:18 PM

Post a comment

Please enter this code to enable your comment -
Remember Me?
(you may use HTML tags for style)
* indicates required