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Doctors call for raising awareness on infantile, teenage depression

By JT - Apr 24,2024 - Last updated at Apr 24,2024

A national study on the mental health status of children and adolescents in Jordan revealed that 16.6 per cent of children and 23 per cent of adolescents suffer from symptoms of severe depression (JT photo)

AMMAN — Experts stressed on Tuesday the importance of detecting cases of depression among children and adolescents at early stages and called for raising awareness among families about the signs and symptoms of depression. 

A national study on the mental health status of children and adolescents in Jordan revealed that 16.6 per cent of children and 23 per cent of adolescents in Jordan suffer from symptoms of severe depression, while 24.5 per cent of children and 27.5 per cent of adolescents suffer from symptoms of pathological anxiety.

The study, which covered Jordanian and refugee children and adolescents, showed that 17.9 per cent of children between the ages of 8 and 11, Jordanian and non-Jordanian, face emotional and behavioural problems, and 14.1 per cent of adolescents between the ages of 12 and 18 years have the same problem. 

According to the study carried out in cooperation between the Ministries of Health and Education, UNRWA, JICA, and the Middle East Community Health Network, 19.7 per cent of Jordanian adolescents suffer from depression, and 25.8 per cent of Jordanian adolescents suffer from anxiety. 

The study stated that 25 per cent of children nationwide suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, while 35 per cent of teenagers suffer from these disorders. 

The study also indicated that 36 per cent of Jordanian children and 22 per cent of Jordanian adolescents suffer from this disorder, while between 34 per cent and 38 per cent of Syrians suffer from this disorder, and between 20 to 30 per cent of Syrian adolescents suffer from some disorder after the shock. 

Commenting on this study, Awad Ahmad, a psychiatrist who specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of depression, told the Jordan Times on Tuesday that most of The cases that have been diagnosed recently as suffering from depression are in the age groups from 9 to 18 years.

He believes that the reason for the increase in these cases of depression is due to the excessive use of technology, which increases the isolation of the young people and affects their interaction with their peers and families even.

Things such as mobile phones and iPads are contributing to these problems, as children and teenagers are now spending most of their time on these devices instead of reading books and other useful things. “I believe that parents can help their children by not giving them phones and tablets for long periods of time, and keeping track of what they watch on these devices is very important to reduce these cases of depression,” he said.

Musa Ali, a psychiatrist, said that it is necessary to detect cases of depression early in order to complete treatment faster and easier than in advanced cases. He recommends raising awareness among families about the disease of depression that is widespread among children and adolescents, and when noticing any symptom, go to the nearest doctor and do not hesitate to find out the main causes and the appropriate treatment method.

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