Increasing numbers of young people in Denmark are being treated for mental health conditions, such as depression and panic attacks, according to recent figures released by the Danish Health Data Authority.
According to the report, which doesn't take into account patients seeking private treatment, over the past decade alone, the number of Danish children and adolescents with anxiety, depression, ADHD or eating disorders has trebled to 32,600 children, corresponding to 26 kids out of every 1,000.
Pediatric psychiatry consultant Pia Jeppesen ventured that up to 20 percent of children and teenagers in Denmark currently fulfill the clinical criteria for being diagnosed with anxiety or depression before they have matured. Jeppersen attributed the spike to the development of children's psychiatry and an increase in the number of psychiatrists, yet suggested that Denmark was still a far cry from the level at which all mental problems are detected, the Politiken newspaper reported.
"We are living in a competitive society in which demands are high. That applies to both social media and the education system, where new demands are constantly being set," Bjerre told Politiken.
Same Problem in Sweden
In neighboring Sweden, the number of children and adolescents suffering from psychological issues has doubled over the past decade, reaching nearly 190,000 out of the nation's total population of 10 million, a report by the National Board of Health indicated. This figure corresponds to 10 percent of girls and boys and 15 percent of young women.
According to the report, the increase is manifested both in terms of self-reported and diagnosed mental disorders. Depressions and various forms of anxiety disorders are in the lead when it comes to Swedes' mental issues.
One of the explanations provided by the National Board of Health itself is the increasing stress due to problems the youth experience while trying to enter the labor market.
"These diagnoses may be associated with stress, the fact that people have put too high demands on themselves. If it is tough in school or while trying to enter the labor market, one may become dejected and worried about the future," Peter Salmi of the National Board of Health told national broadcaster SVT.
Curt Hagquist, a professor of public health science at the Center for Research on Children and Young People's Mental Health at Karlstad University, attributed the spike to the "smartphone culture," which, he claimed in an interview with SVT, ushered in major societal changes, resulting in "cybermobbing" and "appearance fixation," especially among girls.
According to the National Board of Health, mental disorders will continue to grow, increasing the risk of suicide and suicide attempts.