While 1 in 10 children is affected by a mental health problem, over 70 percent of children do not have access to the interventions needed at an early age to tackle these issues.
Young men, however are more likely the to experience more severe mental disorders, including schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder and depression than women of the same age group, a recent study.
The study showed that the incidence of first-episode psychosis (people who experience psychotic symptoms for the first time) was higher among men aged 18 to 24 than among women in the same age group.
“The study confirmed that the incidence of first-episode psychosis varies considerably between major cities and rural areas. It also showed that environmental factors probably play a crucial role in this significant variation,” said one of the researchers Paulo Rossi Menezes, Professor at University of Sao Paulo Medical School (FM-USP) in Brazil.
“Until the end of the twentieth century, the etiology of psychotic disorders was believed to be mainly genetic, but the results of this study show that environmental factors are extremely important,” Menezes said.
However, it is slightly higher in women aged 45-54, compared to men in the same age group.
“We don’t know exactly why there are these differences in incidence between sexes and age groups, but they may be linked to the process of cerebral maturation: the brain matures between the ages of 20 and 25, and during this period, men seem to be more vulnerable to mental disorders than women,” Menezes said.
The findings published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry also showed that ethnic minorities and people living in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas are also vulnerable to severe mental illness.