Children‘s Mental Health in Lithuania – Possibilities and Challenges

ABSTRACT SL1-3

SIGITA LESINSKIENE
Vilnius University Medical Faculty Psychiatric Clinic, Vilnius, Lithuania

VIVIANE KOVESS-MASFETY
EHESP EA 4057 Paris Descartes Fondation Deniker, Paris, France

MAURO CARTA
Department of Public Health, Center of Liaison Psychiatry Cagliari University, Cagliari, Italy

ADINA BITFOI
The Romanian League for Mental Health, Bucharest, Romania

CEREN KOÇ
The Yeniden Health and Education Society, Istanbul, Turkey

DIETMAR GOELITZ
Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nurnberg, Erlangen, Germany

ZLATKA MIHOVA
New Bulgaria University, Sofia, Bulgaria

ROY OTTEN
Radboud University, Nijmegen, Gelderland, the Netherlands

ANDERS BOYD
Institut Pierre Louis d’Epidémiologie et de Santé Publique Universite Paris 6 Pierre Et Marie Curie, Paris, France

MATHILDE HUSKY
Department of Psychology, University of Bordeaux, Talence, France

CHRISTINE CHAN-CHEE
EHESP EA 4057 Paris Descartes Fondation Deniker, Paris, France

ONDINE PEZ
Paris Descartes University, Ecole des Hautes Etudes de Santé Publique (EHESP), Paris, France

ABSTRACT DESCRIPTION

Introduction: Survey of School children mental health Europe (SCMHE) gave possibility for preparation of the screening and diagnostic instruments, cross-country comparisons and collaboration. 

Method: Primary school children aged 6 to 11 years were investigated in 7 European countries: Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Romania and Turkey (2009-2011), 9084 children participated. Child mental health was assessed using the Dominique Interactive (DI) and the parent- and teacher Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). Parental attitudes, caring behaviour and socio-demographics were collected. A total of 1,152 Lithuanian children participated, among them 11.7 % from a non-L family.

Results: Main findings of the survey will be presented. As expected teachers report more externalised problems and less internalised problems than parents. Children report more internalised problems than parents and teachers. Boys have consistently more externalised problems than girls and this is the reverse for internalised problems. Childeren with problems requiring some sort of mental health care were about 9.9% (in LT 144%). Overall 26.72% of non-L versus 17.19 % of L children reported having an internalizing disorders (p=0.01) mainly due to separation anxiety (16.39% versus 10.15%, p=0.04). Odd ratio (OR) for child reported internalizing disorders are 3.29 (1.34-8.06) once adjusted for other factors: being a girl, parental unemployment and to a lesser extent low caring parental attitude. In addition, 31.9% of non-L reported suicidal thoughts versus 22.03% of L children (p=0.002). 

Conclusions: Data from LT showed more serious problems in many investigated areas comparing with the other countries. Intersectorial action remains a complex and challenging area of policy development and practice. Being a non-national minority in Lithuania is a serious risk factor for child mental health. These findings suggest further studies are needed to inform local policy-makers on targeted prevention and intervention.