The number of people with poor mental health has doubled in Sweden since the mid-eighties. Symptoms related to poor mental health are sleeping disorder, anxiety, irritability, stomach ache, back pains or concentration difficulties. WHO highlights mental health in adolescents as a high priority area that needs to be addressed to promote the agenda for sustainable development.
Every fourth year The Public Health Agency of Sweden conducts a survey on health behavior in school-aged children. The latest survey conducted was in 2018 and the results demonstrate the factors related to school and learning are intimately connected to the increase in poor mental health among children and adolescents.
At school, particularly for girls, there is a connection between educational performance and stress. Societal factors such as the uncertainty in the labour market with high demands on education and high level of individualization, as well as an increased openness regarding poor mental health in media and in the digitalized society also affect the mental health of adolescents.
This is a doctoral project lead by professor Sakari Suominen carried out by doctoral student Kristina Carlén. The project examines several resource factors with potential to maintaining mental health among adolescents.
For this undertaking data collected from 1287 families in Turku and Pori in Finland is used. The collection of data began by the 10th week of pregnancy and continued until the child’s 18th birthday. Parents, health and care personnel, teachers and the children themselves, from 15 years of age, regularly filled in questionnaires concerning behavior and physical, mental and social development.
Through the projects research questions applied in the project we aim to contribute to knowledge of the factors consequential to maintaining mental health. To highlight those significant factors that will make a difference in health promotion work in schools for example.
Project in media
The first article in the project Sense of coherense predicts adolescent mental health is pubilshed in Journal of Affective Disorders.