Mental Health: Communities Children Are Living In Affects Their Mental Health

By Elizabeth Anderson, Parent Herald May 12, 07:00 am
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Higher rates of psychotic symptoms among children in urban areas can be caused by loose association between neighbors and higher crime rates, a study has shown. The researchers from Duke University and King's College London observed 2,232 British twins from the day they were born up to when they were 12 years old.

The researchers sought to see if particular conditions in urban areas contributed to psychotic symptoms in children. There were controls for family history of mental illness and the mother's history of psychotic symptoms, according to Medical Xpress.

Children In Urban Communities More Likely To Have Psychotic Symptoms

"We wanted to understand how the communities children live in are affecting them," said Candice Odgers, one of the researchers, via EurekAlert. Odgers is an associate professor of psychology and public policy at Duke and senior associate director of the university's Center for Child and Family Policy.

The study showed that 12-year-old children in urban communities were nearly twice as likely to have a psychotic symptom compared to children living in non-urban areas. Meanwhile, about 7.4 percent of children residing in urban areas had at least one psychotic symptom when they reached 12. For children living in non-urban areas, the rate was 4.4 percent.

The psychotic symptoms were more common for the children who lived in areas that have low social cohesion, low social control, high neighborhood disorder and those whose family were crime victims. Of these, low social cohesion and crime victimization had the largest impact, reported EurekAlert.

Mental Health Center For Children To Be Established In Canada

The Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario will be building a Centre for Pediatric Mental Health Services and Policy Research. This is the first of its kind in Ottawa and perhaps in Canada as well, according to Radio Canada International.

Anthropologists, economists, nurses, physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and other experts will be part of the new endeavor. Issues relevant to improving and equitable delivery of mental health for juveniles will be tackled by the experts.

Are you and your child living in a good community? Share your thoughts below.

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