International HBSC study: The trend of declining mental health among adolescents is alarming

Photo: "Young people can"

The Center for Psychosocial and Crisis Action - Malinska in partnership with the Faculty of Philosophy at the University "St. Cyril and Methodius" in Skopje, the University of Tetovo and the Municipality of Veles today in Veles presented the national findings from the international HBSC study "Health-related behavior among school-age children", according to which in RS Macedonia 31 percent of girls at the age of 15 they feel lonely. That percentage in Europe and Central Asia is 28.

The research, which was conducted in the Republic of Macedonia on 5.132 students, showed that every third 15-year-old girl in the country declares that she is lonely, and every second of the same age feels that in the past year, or rather 12 months, she felt so sad and hopeless. almost every day for two or more weeks, which stopped him from doing his usual activities.

The study tracked the behaviors and lifestyles of children and youth in different and changing living conditions, comparing them with children from other regions of the world.

According to HBSC, frequent mood disorders, almost daily, in the last six months, were reported by as many as 57 percent of 15-year-old girls in our country, and six suffer from psychosomatic complaints: stomach aches, headaches, anxiety, irritability, sleep and concentration problems of 10 girls aged 15.

They also found that the satisfaction with life decreases with the age from 11 to 15 years. Girls much faster than boys.

"The trend in the last eight years, across three research cycles from 2014 to 2022, shows the same direction of gender and age differences, with high similarities between 2014 and 2022, precisely on mental health indicators, which indicates a high sensitivity of the children of the social developments and conditions in which they live, regardless of whether it is a social, political or health crisis and insecurity of the community", say HBSC.

Regarding these findings, Lina Kjostarova Unkovska, lead researcher of the study for our country, clarifies that the numbers are a reflection of our society, our schools, our homes.

She appeals to the authorities that this is a call to action – to understand more deeply, to act faster and to provide more support.

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