The second leading cause of death among children in the Czech Republic is suicide. And the number of suicide attempts and completed child suicides is increasing. According to psychiatrists, untreated depression is often the cause of such behaviors. And the Czech Republic lacks child psychiatrists.
According to experts, depression in the Czech Republic affects around 4% of children between the ages of 12 and 17. It more often affects adolescent girls. The risk is depression in a child, traumatic events increase. Children who have suffered family trauma, bullying or sexual abuse are much more prone to depression. And genes also play a role. Children of depressed parents have a 25% higher risk of developing the same mental illness than children who do not have such a burden in the family.
Cribs are full, outpatient specialists are missing
Doctors say Czech youth also contributed to poor mental state a two-year covid pandemic full of lockdowns and other restrictions. According to experts, the number of children suffering from depressive disorders has increased by ten percent in the last year alone. There were several reasons. This involved, for example, cutting off children and young people from their peers. Or the uneven quality of distance education and, after it ended, the quick effort of teachers to catch up.
“Students who were late were more afraid of school, some could become depressed or even suicidal. There were also more cases of children suffering from eating disorders. It was at this time that the number completed suicides has increased significantly. describes the experience of his practice child psychiatrist Jana Schmidtová.
Children were hurt the most during the pandemic, says psychologist
About 100 applications will now come to his outpatient clinic in a month initial examination. And according to her, there is no better situation in hospitals either. The psychiatric beds for children are full. Therefore, some pediatric patients are in pediatrics or are cared for by outpatient psychiatrists. And some are still waiting for hospitalization or specialist help.
“I recently hired a patient who had been seeking professional help since October. She even tried to kill herself. She swallowed a lot of drugs. I heard about her from her depressed and suicidal friend, whom I also took care of acutely.” says Jana Schmidtová.
It will take six months for a child to be admitted by a child psychiatrist
Ilona Hülleová, president of the Association of General Practitioners for Children and Adolescents, agrees with his comments. The experience of his practice also confirms the increase in the number of parents who are increasingly struggling with mental health problems in their children.
“It’s not just depression, we often have learning disabilities or an addiction to digital technologies. Children sit in front of a computer, mobile phone or TV for hours. Then they are in a bad mood , they have problems at school because they are not concentrated and tired”, describes the current state of surgeries.
Czechia has only 25 forensic experts in child psychiatry
He points out that in certain situations, doctors must react very quickly, almost immediately.
“Our options are limited. This would help us improve the availability of psychiatric care and free up the ability to prescribe needed medications.” Hull said.
He adds that the children would not only depend on the help of a child psychiatrist, but that there is a long-term shortage in the Czech Republic.
The pediatrician will treat the basic diagnosis of depression
Psychiatric and pediatric general practitioners are also helped by a 27-point questionnaire specially compiled to detect depression. In it, the child only answers closed questions. This will determine his current mental state.
“A child who is depressed is not very common. An untrained worker may not know how to properly ask for information about a child’s mental state. Therefore, the questionnaire is a way to find out more about his emotional state in a structured way.” explains Schmidt.
According to her, it will not take more than ten minutes to complete the questionnaires. And children can fill it out themselves at the doctor’s or in the waiting room. However, Schmidt also recalls early signs of depressive behavior. These most often include depressed mood, loss of appetite, taciturnity, reluctance to go to school.
Opařany does not stop, new doctors will receive a million crowns
Parents and doctors should also be aware of the situation when the child has noticeably slowed motor movements, is often tired and complains of headaches or abdominal pain.
“Other behavioral problems can occur with depression ADHD or eating disorders, ” says the doctor.
In the experience of doctors, depressed children often self-harm and suffer from suicidal thoughts. Expert studies have shown that children who have repeatedly attempted suicide have a high risk of dying by their own hands.
How to recognize depressive behavior and determine appropriate treatment in young patients will therefore be one of the main topics of the XIV. year of the Primary Care Congress. Psychiatrists and pediatricians will discuss this.