Belfast Telegraph

Child mental disorders highlighted

Some 15% of 11 to 13-year-olds suffer from a mental disorder, new research has found.

A sample of 1,131 children from north and west Dublin and Kildare completed a questionnaire assessing their different strengths and difficulties.

Depression and anxiety were among the most common of the disorders found among the young people.

Health Research Board clinician scientist Professor Mary Cannon, who carried out the study, said it was important to detect mental disorders at an early stage.

"Effective early intervention and treatment would have long-lasting beneficial impacts for both the patient and society," she said.

"Currently children's medical services would appear to be heavily geared towards physical ailments, and this research, amongst others, would suggest that we may need to realign physical and mental health services, and also include a more holistic approach to identify and treat at-risk children."

More than a fifth (22%) of the children studied indicated a risk of developing a psychiatric disorder.

Following a clinical interview, 37% of those were found to have experienced a mental disorder in the past, while 15% had suffered at least two.

Professor Cannon will present her findings at a Youth Mental Health conference at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland on Friday.

Experts will discuss how her research will help new policies on the transition from child to adult mental health services.

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