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Where’s the need?

The use of specialist mental health services in adolescence and young adulthood
PhD ceremony:dr. D. (Dennis) Raven
When:March 02, 2020
Supervisors:prof. dr. A.J. (Tineke) Oldehinkel, prof. dr. R.A. (Robert) Schoevers
Co-supervisor:dr. F. (Frederike) Jörg
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Medical Sciences / UMCG
Where’s the need?

Childhood and adolescence are vulnerable phases in life during which there is a high risk of developing a mental disorder. The negative consequences of such disorders are often visible well into adulthood. Effective mental health care is important, but it remains to be seen whether youths actually receive such care. The overall aim in this PhD thesis was therefore to investigate the extent to which youths receive care for their mental disorders, and which factors play a decisive role in this process. Psychiatric disorders are common in Dutch youths. Many youths are not in mental health care for their disorders, however, or wait long, often many years, before entering into care. Youths often only enter into care if a new disorder develops, in addition to the existing disorder. Mental health care use does increase in young adulthood, but even then only a minority of the young adults with psychological problems receives care. Help-seeking is impeded because youths are dependent on their environment, such as their parents and teachers, and because symptoms often disappear by themselves after a while. The research in this PhD thesis shows that it is difficult to detect mental disorders in childhood or adolescence in an early stage. Youths often only seek help once their problems deteriorate, and they are severely impaired in their daily functioning. It is therefore of the upmost importance to prevent the development of mental disorders from childhood onwards as much as possible, and to provide timely and effective health care to youths who develop a mental disorder.