Health qua Liberty

The recent U.S National Comorbidity Survey found that 50% of all severe adult psychiatric disorders, for examples, major depression, substance use and anxiety disorders, start by 14 years, 75% established by 25 years1,2. Why then do many young persons with mental illness not receive diagnosis let alone treatment for their condition? Could this not compromise their emotional, academic, even social development at a critical stage of their development? What are the implications of these for these young people and for society? In the U.S., suicide, a fatal complication of depression, is the third-main cause of death among persons aged 15 to 19 years, considered seriously by 16.9% of U.S. high school students, attempted by 8.4% at least once in the previous year, noted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for 20051. Could setting up a psychiatric screening program for youths help identify and treat risk factors for suicide for example? On March 6, 2007, the U.S acting Surgeon General Kenneth Moritsugu alerted the country to the menace of alcohol, incidentally, which he noted is the drug of choice for teens. Indeed also, alcohol and substance abuse, along with previous suicide attempt, and mood disorder, are primary risk factors for suicide1. According to the 2005 National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimates, the U.S has 11 million underage drinkers, almost 7.2 million, binge drinkers, who drank over five drinks at a sitting3. Moritsugu called for action by all to tackle this problem, which is appropriate considering underage drinking being still highly prevalent, and higher among girls than among boys, until late teenage, despite a significant drop in tobacco and illicit drug use among teens.

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