If carefully looked into, almost half of the mental disorders can be detected during childhood.
Experts at the 10th Biennial conference of Indian Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health (IACAMH) emphasised upon the need of screening children and adolescents to avoid developing problems during adulthood.
The conference was organised by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
“One of the primary reasons why the ailment is not detected early is lack of awareness among the family members and schoolteachers,” said Dr Rajesh Sagar, associate professor, department of psychiatry at AIIMS.
“Most of these cases must have had exhibited signs of the disease before the age of 14.”
Signs of diseases like schizophrenia and depression usually are expressed during childhood and adolescence and, if treated early, there are chances of the disease not taking a serious shape in future.
The conference aims at educating health professionals working in this field, so that they can further spread awareness at the grassroots level.
“A judicious individualised approach is required, as at times things that work for one case may not work for another,” said child psychiatrist Dr Usha Naik.
In modern times, some of the reasons that result in children getting mentally disturbed are changing socio-cultural environment and also physical illness. Those with chronic illness or lifelong diseases like diabetes and hypertension are prone to develop emotional and behavioural problems.
“Our aim is to empower children and adolescents so that they are able to tell the danger signs. Early screening is the best way to go about it,” said Dr Sagar.