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The COVID-19 pandemic and mitigation measures are likely to have a marked effect on mental health. It is important to use longitudinal data to improve inferences.
To quantify the prevalence of depression, anxiety and mental well-being before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, to identify groups at risk of depression and/or anxiety during the pandemic.
Data were from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) index generation (n = 2850, mean age 28 years) and parent generation (n = 3720, mean age 59 years), and Generation Scotland (n = 4233, mean age 59 years). Depression was measured with the Short Mood and Feelings Questionnaire in ALSPAC and the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 in Generation Scotland. Anxiety and mental well-being were measured with the Generalised Anxiety Disorder Assessment-7 and the Short Warwick Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale.
Depression during the pandemic was similar to pre-pandemic levels in the ALSPAC index generation, but those experiencing anxiety had almost doubled, at 24% (95% CI 23–26%) compared with a pre-pandemic level of 13% (95% CI 12–14%). In both studies, anxiety and depression during the pandemic was greater in younger members, women, those with pre-existing mental/physical health conditions and individuals in socioeconomic adversity, even when controlling for pre-pandemic anxiety and depression.
These results provide evidence for increased anxiety in young people that is coincident with the pandemic. Specific groups are at elevated risk of depression and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is important for planning current mental health provisions and for long-term impact beyond this pandemic.
Objectives: To examine the prevalence and persistence of psychological problems in older adolescents.
Methods: This study is a one year follow-up of 110 adolescents, 64 girls and 46 boys attending three secondary schools in Ireland. All were 16 at initial testing. The Youth Self Report (YSR) was the measure used.
Results: Over a fifth of adolescents have problems in the clinical range. These problems persisted from 16 to 17. Females reported more problems than males at both ages. Some females showed a slight reduction in internalising problems at 17. Both males and females showed an increase in externalising problems at 17. Odds ratios indicate that those in the clinical ranges of the YSR at 16, had increased risk of being in the clinical range at 17 compared to those in the no problem range at 16. In comparison to those with no suicidal feeling, those with suicidal feelings at 16 were at an increased risk of still feeling suicidal at 17. More males remained psychologically healthy than girls.
Conclusions: A large proportion of adolescents in this sample have psychological problems and these appear to persist over a one year period. These problems impact substantially on the adolescents themselves, their families and society. Given the increasing suicide rate in young people and the persistence of suicidal feelings in this cohort, the inadequacy of mental health services in Ireland for adolescents, particularly those ages 16-18 is highlighted. The challenge of developing and providing adolescent friendly services is addressed.
Objectives: To establish the prevalence of psychological problems in early school leavers, who attend training schemes.
Method: The Youth self report inventory was completed by teenagers as part of a group setting. Percentages of those scoring above clinical threshold were calculated and gender differences examined.
Results: 78 teenagers participated in the study, 40 males and 38 females. 24% were classified as being in the clinical range of total problem score. Girls reported more total, internalising and externalising problems than boys. 13% of girls frequently thought of suicide and 7% had frequent thoughts of self harm, this contrasts with none of the boys admitting suicidal ideation and 2.5% reporting thoughts of self harm.
Conclusions: 24% of this group experienced problems which placed them within the clinical range. Girls experienced greater problems than boys and appear to be at greater risk of self harm. This group appear to be representative of those who attend training programmes, however it is not possible to determine whether they are representative of all early school leavers. This highlights the vulnerability of older adolescents, and in particular those who leave school early. More detailed examination of issues facing this group are needed and should be a priority along with greater service provision from the educational and health sectors.
Objectives: To establish the prevalence of psychological problems in older adolescents.
Method: The Youth Self Report was completed by teenagers in a class group. Percentages scoring above clinical threshold were calculated. Gender differences and variances between school type were examined.
Results: Seven hundred and seventy-nine students participated in the study, 373 males and 406 females. Of the girls 23% reported problems in the clinical range on total problem score compared with 19% of boys. Significant gender differences were noted on total problem and internalising scores but not on externalising scores. The levels of psychological problems did not appear to be influenced by school type. Of the total group 6.4% reported thinking of suicide frequently (almost twice as many girls as boys) and this rose to 25% of girls who scored in the clinical range of total problem score and 15% of boys.
Conclusions: Twenty-one per cent of adolescents had problems in the clinical range. Girls reported more problems than boys. It was surprising to find that there was no gender difference in reported levels of externalising problems. The high expression of suicidal and thoughts of self-harm in those with externalising and internalising problems is of concern. This highlights the vulnerability of older adolescents as they tend to fall between the current child and adolescent services. Service provision for this population should be a priority in rural areas and on a national basis.
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