The conference will be held on the 19th and 20th April at the Radisson Golden Sands and is organised by the ‘Association of Child and Adolescent Mental Health’ in Malta.
As part of normal development, young people aged 12 to 18 years go through multiple transitions in most aspects of their life, some of which include: furthering education or employment, studying overseas and generally becoming more independent. These transitions compounded with other psycho-social stressors in their lives make them more vulnerable to particular risks such as mental disorders.
It is these transitions that place young people at risk of suffering disproportionately (compared to peers their age) from many different types of disadvantages, including homelessness, lack of training or education and poor health (in particular mental and sexual health).
“Despite the fact that 75% of mental disorders begin before the age of 25 years, less than half of young people are willing to accept that they are struggling with a mental disorder and less than a third are known to mental health services.”
The adolescent period is considered to be one of high risk.
The total UK prevalence of psychiatric disorders increases from a rate of 9.5% in children aged 5 to 15 years (in the British Child and Adolescent Mental Health Survey), to between 20 and 25% in those aged 16 to 24. 7.2 per cent of these have two or more mental disorders.
Despite the fact that 75% of mental disorders begin before the age of 25 years, less than half of young people are willing to accept that they are struggling with a mental disorder and less than a third are known to mental health services. Furthermore specialised services for this age group remain sparse. These very facts make adolescent mental health a public health concern.
The 10 to 14 years age group is at higher risk
A worldwide systematic review reported a steep increase in burden of disease of 2.5 times from the 10 to 14 year age bracket to the age group 15 to 19 years. The main disorders contributing to the burden of disease (which was measured in DALYs -The disability-adjusted life year), for both genders were (most prevalent listed first); uni-polar depression, schizophrenia, road traffic accidents, bipolar disorder, alcohol use, violence and self-harm.
The commonest DSM-IV mental disorders reported in the British Child and Adolescent Mental Health Survey were; anxiety disorders, depressive disorders and disruptive disorders; these included: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), conduct disorders and oppositional defiant disorder.
Epidemiological studies spanning the last thirty years, in different populations repeatedly have linked childhood and adolescent mental disorders to certain ‘risk factors’. These factors include; poverty, poor general health, family dysfunction, parental psychiatric illness, adverse life events, low socio-economic status and ethnicity.
The 2-day conference which will be held on the 19th and 20th April at Radisson Golden Sands will explore the most recent research on the adolescent period, whilst providing the platform for the sharing of practical evidence based measures which may be used to successfully engage the adolescent into our services and provide the individualised treatment required to adequately meet their needs.
For information on pricing and tickets click here.
If you are concerned about your child
TAASC (the team for assessment of attention and social communication) which is based at Remedies Birkirkara, is offering parents and their adolescents the opportunity to get assessed following the most recent evidence and to be offered expert advice where needed. For more information, visit https://www.taascmalta.com/
Author: Dr Nigel Camilleri
Nigel Camilleri studied medicine and surgery at the University of Malta but practices as a psychiatrist. He is currently a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at Mount Carmel Hospital and Clinical Lead for the Team for Assessment of Attention and Social Communication (TAASC), Malta. He also chairs the Association of Child Mental Health (ACAMH) – Malta Branch.