The Children’s Ombudsman publishes a study on the mental health of children and adolescents « Diario y Radio Universidad Chile

The children’s advocate, Patricia Muñoz, pointed out that the study reveals that medication in children and adolescents to deal with their mental problems is not a last alternative, but a first form of intervention.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022 4:19 p.m.

The Children’s Ombudsman, together with the School of Public Health and the Center for Civil Security Studies of the University of Chile, published the paper “Examination of public policies related to the mental health of children and adolescents”, which reveals that for adolescents the most important are mental problems anxiety, depression and self-harm.

The report was presented by the Children’s Ombudsman, Patricia Muñoz, and was accompanied by the Minister of Health, Ximena Aguilera, and the Undersecretary of Aid Networks, Fernando Araos.

The study was conducted through various sources of information: a review of international evidence on mental health, interviews with more than 30 people who work in this field in various government departments, consultation with a panel of experts and experts related to the field of mental health, childhood and human rights.

Furthermore, and what was most remarkable about the case, is that children and adolescents were consulted through a survey in which 751 teenagers from all over the country participated. Discussion and analysis groups were also conducted with children and adolescents living in the care of the state.

The purpose of the inquiry is for the State to act on the recommendations of the Children’s Ombudsman to generate “a new Child and Adolescent Mental Health Network that incorporates the identified challengesin line with international human rights standards and which allows above all to guarantee them the effective exercise of their right to health, survival and development to its maximum potential,” according to the childhood advocate at the launch.

The survey conducted found that the concept of mental health is mostly recognized as “well-being or a sense of well-being”. Participating adolescents identified anxiety as the most important health problem for their peers (92.9% of mentions), depression (92.3%) and self-injury (77.5%).

Munoz, meanwhile, pointed out that the study bears this out medication in children and adolescents to deal with their mental problems is not a last resort, but rather a first form of intervention.

“In the visits that we do at the state level in the shelters and in the detention centers, you go in and sometimes the boys are in a coma, they are like zombies and that cannot be a response of the state,” he reproached, adding that the education system is also responsible in this matter.

In this sense, the defender emphasized that the educational system must integrate the need to accompany adaptation processes. “In Chile we have the highest level of attention deficit disorder in the world, in circumstances where it is clear that this is not supported by medical evidence. It is an outlet for the most restless child who somehow makes the room uncomfortable, as well as an outlet for the inability of the teachers in terms of their abilities to handle the courses and the needs that the children face.Munoz emphasized.

On the other hand, participants indicated an increase in difficulties related to anxiety and depression (86% and 83% of responses, respectively) as a result of the pandemic.

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