Diagnosed mental illness increasingly prevalent among Estonian teens

While the Estonian state lacks complete statistics on mental illness in children, what existing data shows is that initial mental illness diagnoses in teenagers between the ages of 15-19 have become more frequent in recent years. An estimated total of 20,000-40,000 teenagers, or 10-20% of all teenagers, have been diagnosed with mental illness, and nearly 3,000 children take prescription antidepressants - writes err.ee

According to Käthlin Mikiver, chief specialist at the Ministry of Social Affairs' Public Health Department, initial diagnoses of mental and behavioural disorders have decreased somewhat, however the noticeable increase in mental illness in the 15-19 age group is concerning.

While just a few years ago, mental and behavioural disorders were diagnosed the most in the 5-9 age group, followed by the 10-14 age group, something changed around 2015-2016, and the number of initial diagnoses in the 15-19 age group began to rise sharply.

In 2016, a total of nearly 5,500 minors received a psychiatric diagnosis, 1,815 of whom were between the ages of 15-19, 1,618 of whom were between 10-14, 1,764 of whom were between 5-9 and 287 of whom were 1-4 years of age.

The most commonly occurring in children were behavioural and emotional disorders (28%), developmental disorders (27%), and neurotic, stress-related and somatoform disorders (19%), the last of which include for example depression, anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders and neurological disorders.

"The increase may be due to the fact that as a result of increasing awareness, the number of people seeking help has increased," Mikiver offered, adding that this meant that more people dare seek help. "Indicators may have also increased due to the fact that children's access to services such as online counselling, children's and youth mental health centres and a network of offices has improved."

While the Estonian state lacks complete statistics on mental illness in children, what existing data shows is that initial mental illness diagnoses in teenagers between the ages of 15-19 have become more frequent in recent years. An estimated total of 20,000-40,000 teenagers, or 10-20% of all teenagers, have been diagnosed with mental illness, and nearly 3,000 children take prescription antidepressants.

According to Käthlin Mikiver, chief specialist at the Ministry of Social Affairs' Public Health Department, initial diagnoses of mental and behavioural disorders have decreased somewhat, however the noticeable increase in mental illness in the 15-19 age group is concerning.

While just a few years ago, mental and behavioural disorders were diagnosed the most in the 5-9 age group, followed by the 10-14 age group, something changed around 2015-2016, and the number of initial diagnoses in the 15-19 age group began to rise sharply.

In 2016, a total of nearly 5,500 minors received a psychiatric diagnosis, 1,815 of whom were between the ages of 15-19, 1,618 of whom were between 10-14, 1,764 of whom were between 5-9 and 287 of whom were 1-4 years of age.

The most commonly occurring in children were behavioural and emotional disorders (28%), developmental disorders (27%), and neurotic, stress-related and somatoform disorders (19%), the last of which include for example depression, anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders and neurological disorders.

"The increase may be due to the fact that as a result of increasing awareness, the number of people seeking help has increased," Mikiver offered, adding that this meant that more people dare seek help. "Indicators may have also increased due to the fact that children's access to services such as online counselling, children's and youth mental health centres and a network of offices has improved."

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MINISTRYOFSOCIALAFFAIRS PUBLICHEALTH NATIONALINSTITUTEFORHEALTHDEVELOPMENT MENTALHEALTH DEPRESSION
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