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ORIGINAL ARTICLE Table of Contents   
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 43  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 23-27
Are school-going adolescents mentally healthy? Case study from Sabarkantha, Gujarat, India

1 Department of Epidemiology, Indian Institute of Public Health, Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India
2 Center For Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn, NRW, Germany

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Deepak Saxena
Indian Institute of Public Health Gandhinagar, Opp. Air-force Head Quarters, Near Lekawada Bus Stop, Gandhinagar-Chlioda Road, Lekawada, CRPF P.O, Gandhinagar - 382 042, Gujarat
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijcm.IJCM_56_18

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Background: Mental health issues becoming the global public health challenge, especially among the youth (12–24 years of age), although they are often detected later in life. In India, the adolescent population constitutes a quarter of the country's population and burden of disease varies from 9.5 to 102/1000 population. Most of the mental health disorders remain unidentified due to negligence and ignorance of multiple factors. Keeping this in mind and lack of population-based studies with good quality for guiding the mental health policies, this study aims to document the prevalence of emotional and behavioral difficulties among adolescents in Sabarkantha district of Gujarat, India. Methods: This is a school-based cross-sectional study conducted among 11–19 years of school-going adolescents during August–September 2016. About 477 adolescents who gave consent to participate were selected from 20 randomly primary and secondary schools. A prevalidated questionnaire for sociodemographic information including global validated standard questionnaire for mental health scoring known as Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) were administered and self-reported responses were documented. Statistical analysis was conducted through SPSS version 20. Results: Mean age of the study population was 14.2 ± 1.4 years. About 14.6% boys and 12.6% of girls had abnormal total SDQ score, while 15.3% boys and 21.9% of girls had borderline SDQ score. Thus, 70.1% of boys compared to 65.6% girls had normal SDQ score. The difference between mean (higher mean score among girls) of total SDQ score of boys and girls was statically significant at the level of P < 0.05. Major risk factors for self-reported mental health issues were illiterate mother, occupation of parents, which make them away from family during daytime, nuclear family, severe addiction to alcohol in the family, financial problem in the family, and adolescent getting daily physical punishment. One-seventh adolescents are vulnerable for mental health problems found in this study. About one-fifth adolescents have internalizing (emotional) and about one-sixth have externalizing (conduct) manifestations. Conclusion: There is an urgent need to address the emotional and conduct manifestation among school-going adolescents. Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram framework needs to address these issues on priority.

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