Nearly three-quarters (73%) of Israeli children age 13-18 report having experienced a mental health problem or crisis, according to a survey carried out by Enosh – The Israeli Mental Health Association.
The research, which surveyed 500 teenagers and 500 parents of teenagers, found that 78% of teenage girls reported previous mental health issues, compared with 66% of teenage boys. Almost one-third of respondents (32%) said they had experienced mental health problems on at least three separate occasions.
A total of 45% of teenage respondents said they believed or were certain that they would not seek treatment or counselling if they experienced a mental health problem. Only 12% said they would certainly seek treatment or counseling. Willingness to turn to professional help was higher among those 13-14 than those 15-18, the survey revealed and higher among secular respondents than religious teenagers.
The first source of assistance that teens said they might turn to was a psychologist (48%). Approximately one-third (34%) said they would first approach a school member, and only 17% said they would turn to their family physician. Older teenagers were increasingly likely to turn to psychologists and doctors than school staff.
The leading barrier to receiving treatment was fear of shame, 40% of teenagers said. Other obstacles include the belief that treatment does not help (38%), fear that treatment will negatively impact their future (24%), and that treatment is too expensive (23%).
“The statistics prove that mental health is an issue that affects all of us,” said Enosh executive-director Hilla Hadas. “It’s not a niche issue that matters to only a few, but rather to the wider public.”
The vast majority of patients (94%) said they would probably or definitely refer their child for treatment if they experienced a mental health problem or crisis. Parents expressed a preference for referring their child to private treatment (59%) rather than the public health system (23%). A further 16% of parents said they had no preference, while 2% said they would choose another form of medical assistance.
“It is encouraging to see that Israeli parents understand the importance of mental health care when it comes to their children,” said Hadas. “It is of critical importance to seek assistance in the case of mental health, and we must ensure that there are no barriers preventing teens from receiving help and care at such a critical stage in their lives.”
source: Jerusalem Post
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