For Children’s Mental Health Week we have put together a collection of recent studies and research that provide an insight into the scale and type of mental health issues affecting young people.
Plus, some of the latest research into mental health prevention and non-medical treatment, from art-mindfulness to the power of household dogs in childhood.
Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC): World Health Organisation Collaborative Cross-National Study 2018
'The proportion of 15-year olds who reported feeling low once a week has increased since 2014 (50% vs 40%), and for the first time this increase is seen especially among boys (38% vs 25%).'
The Health Behaviour in School Aged Children is an international study conducted in collaboration with the World Health Organisation. The study collects valuable insights into the physical and mental lives of children. Examining a number of health-related topics such as sleep, mental health and self-harm, food and drink consumption, and physical activity.
Incidence Rates and Cumulative Incidences of the Full Spectrum of Diagnosed Mental Disorders in Childhood and Adolescence Study
'ADHD peaks at 8 for boys and 17 for girls.
One in seven children will develop a mental illness.'
The study looks at health information from 1.3 million Danish children who were monitored from birth to 18 years of age.
The statistics provided give precise estimates of risks and rates of all mental illnesses, and are key to future planning of children’s mental health services.
Mental Health of Children and Young People in England, 2017
'Young people 14 to 19 years old who identified as LGBT+ were more likely to have a mental disorder (34.9%) than those who identified as heterosexual (13.2%).'
The survey, published by NHS Digital, collected information about mental health and wellbeing from over 9000 children and young people living in England and registered with a GP.
This survey for the first time provides findings on the prevalence of mental disorder in 2 to 4-year olds and spans the transition into adulthood by covering 17 to 19-year olds.
Participatory Pilot of an Art-Based Mindfulness Intervention for Adolescent Girls With Headache
'Positive impact of art-based mindfulness on both reducing stress and headaches.'
In a pilot study, researchers explored art-based mindfulness activities that schools could use to reduce headaches, a common side effect of stress in teenage girls. After three weeks of twice-weekly mindfulness and art therapy sessions, 8 teenage girls reported experiencing significantly fewer headaches.
The findings supported a strong, positive impact of art-based mindfulness on both reducing stress and headaches. However, this study was small, so only provides preliminary support.
Exposure to household pet cats and dogs in childhood and risk of subsequent diagnosis of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder
'Early-life exposure to dogs may lessen risk of developing schizophrenia'
The 2019 study investigated the relationship between exposure to a household pet cat or dog during the first 12 years of life and having a subsequent diagnosis of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
The findings suggests that people who are exposed to a pet dog before their 13th birthday are significantly less likely -- as much as 24% -- to be diagnosed later with schizophrenia.
Though, the researchers caution that more studies are needed to confirm these findings.
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