Wednesday November 20, 2019

Mental Health Disorders Drive Children and Adolescents to Risky, Self-Destructive Behavior

Chiara Servili, a technician in WHO's Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, told VOA the crisis has no borders

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Mental Health, Disorders, Children
FILE - The board in a classroom is shown with key words during a Youth Aware of Mental Health session at Uplift Hampton Preparatory School in Dallas, Nov. 15, 2018. VOA

Two leading U.N. agencies are warning that growing mental health disorders among children and adolescents are driving them to engage in increasingly risky, self-destructive behavior.

The World Health Organization and the U.N. children’s fund, which on Thursday opened a three-day conference on the issue in Florence, Italy, reported that up to 20% of adolescents globally experience mental health disorders, with half of these conditions starting in youths before they turn 14.

Chiara Servili, a technician in WHO’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, told VOA the crisis has no borders. She said children in both low- and high-income countries face depression, anxiety and emotional distress.

Youths in developing countries “may be exposed to a range of risk factors like poverty or chronic conditions, including HIV, or migration and displacement and violence,” Servili said. “These are all risk factors that have an influence on the psychosocial well-being of young people.”

Mental Health, Disorders, Children
The World Health Organization and the U.N. children’s fund, which on Thursday opened a three-day conference on the issue in Florence, Italy, reported that up to 20%. Pixabay

She said adolescents living in richer countries also have to contend with violence. They can also face stresses related to unstable families, bullying at school and through social media, and a wide range of other difficult experiences.

WHO said depression is one of the leading causes of illness and disability among adolescents worldwide. It said suicide is the third-leading cause of death in adolescents aged 15 to 19.

Servili said the stigma and shame attached to mental illness are major barriers to getting young people the help they need.

Because of the lack of awareness about mental health issues, parents, other family members, teachers and adolescents “do not recognize their experiences as related to mental health conditions,” Servili said. “The other big challenge is in relation to the availability of care providers and trained human resources.”

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Servili warned that untreated mental conditions have serious short- and long-term health consequences for adolescents.  The inability to deal with their problems, she said, often pushes young people into alcohol and drug use, unsafe sex, violence and other risky behaviors.  (VOA)

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Husbands With Well-Paid Wives May Have Poor Mental Health

A wife who is well-paid may be injurious to husband's mental health

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Mental Health
Working wives who are paid well can be the reason for a poor mental health in husbands. Pixabay

If your wife earns more than you, especially after marriage, and you are facing some sort of mental stress for quite some time, there is a definite link between the two.

An interesting study has found that husbands are least stressed when their wives earn up to 40 per cent of household income but become increasingly uncomfortable as their spouse’s wages rise beyond that point and are most stressed when they are entirely economically dependent on their partner.

The research from the University of Bath also showed that husbands did not suffer psychological distress about their wives’ income if their wife was the higher earner before marriage and the existing and potential income gap was clear to them.

The study of over 6,000 American heterosexual couples over 15 years showed husbands are at their most anxious when they are the sole breadwinner, shouldering all the burden of responsibility for the household’s finances.

Stress levels decline as their wives’ earnings approach 40 per cent of household income. But as women’s earnings go through that point, the study showed husbands’ stress levels gradually increasing.

“The findings suggest that social norms about male breadwinning — and traditional conventions about men earning more than their wives — can be dangerous for men’s health. They also show how strong and persistent are gender identity norms,” said Dr Joanna Syrda, an economist at the University of Bath’s School of Management.

The study also shed light on the ‘bargaining power’ between husband and wife.

“The elevated psychological distress that comes with husbands’ economic dependence on their wives can also have practical underpinnings due to bargaining in the shadow of dissolution or the fear of reduced economic status in the event of an actual divorce. These effects are larger among cohabiting couples, possibly due to the higher probability of dissolution,” she elaborated.

Mental Health and distress
Social Norms set for men is another reason for poor mental health. Pixabay

The study also showed a disparity in the way husbands and wives assessed their own psychological distress and that of their partner.

Survey respondents were asked to measure distress in terms of feeling sad, nervous, restless, hopeless, worthless, or that everything was an effort. Men reported better mental health than their wives reported on their behalf.

“This too may be down to gender norms. If masculine social roles preclude the admission of vulnerability, and men are inclined to hide symptoms of stress and depression, it follows that wives’ responses (about their spouses) will be less accurate,” said Dr Syrda.

In fact, wives reported their husbands’ lowest distress level was when they were contributing 50 per cent of the household income, while husbands reported lowest distress when their wives contributed 40 per cent.

Also Read- Young People Diagnosed with Diabetes May Experience High Stress Levels

“With masculinity closely associated with the conventional view of the male breadwinner, traditional social gender norms mean men may be more likely to experience psychological distress if they become the secondary earner in the household or become financially dependent on their wives, a finding that has implications for managing male mental health and society’s understanding of masculinity itself,” the researchers elaborated.

The fact that a wife observes to a lesser degree her husband’s elevated psychological distress when he is financially dependent on her may be simply because he does not communicate it — this may be yet another manifestation of gender norms, showed the findings published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. (IANS)