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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 264-270

Screening for common mental health problems and their determinants among school-going adolescent girls in Gujarat, India

1 Community Health, St. Stephen's Hospital, New Delhi, India
2 Community Medicine, GMERS Medical College, Junagarh, Gujarat, India
3 Community and Family Medicine, AIIMS, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India
4 Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Sh. M. P. Shah Medical College, Jamnagar, Gujarat, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Abha Mangal
C 104 Mayurdhwaj Apt. IP Extension, Patparganj, Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_732_19

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Background: The school health program is a flagship program of Government of India with a focus on improving the physical and mental health of school children, but there is no specific strategy to screen for mental health disorders under the school health program. Also, the estimation of the prevalence of common mental disorders (CMDs) such as anxiety, depression, and psychosocial distress among school children is lacking. Methods: The author conducted a cross-sectional study among 742 adolescent schoolgirls from one government, one government-aided, and one private school in an urban area in Gujarat. We used the pre-validated instrument, general health questionnaire-12 (GHQ-12) to screen for CMDs. We estimated adjusted odds of association between screening positive for CMDs and various determinants. Results: 48.78% adolescent girls screened positive for CMDs which is alarming. Among sociodemographic characteristics, the type of school (adjusted odds of private is 1.8 and government 1.6), mother's higher education (3.0), father's less education (3.1), and working mother (1.5) had shown significant association with positive cases of the girls. Among psychosocial factors, abnormal sleep patterns (1.9) and disturbance in studies (2.3) have been found statistically significant for the presence of mental health problems among adolescent girls as per the GHQ score. Conclusion: CMDs such as anxiety, depression, and psychosocial distress were indeed very common among adolescent school-going girls in an urban area of Gujarat, India. There is an urgent need to focus attention on the mental health of adolescent girls.

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