Mental health – intentional injuries

• Adolescents may often experience distressing and disabling emotions that are sometimes part of their normal development. However, there is an increasing incidence of mental illness globally, mainly because of the breakdown of traditional social and family structures. According to a survey in Greece, 13% of adolescent boys and 29% of girls were considered as being in a «depressive» emotional state. The burden of mental distress is often underestimated, while untreated mental illness in adolescence may lead to lifelong dysfunction. Fortunately, many mental problems are preventable and all can be helped. Thus, promotion of mental health services in adolescence is stressed as a priority in modern societies.

• Adolescence is characterized by noticeable increases in self-harm, being a particularly vulnerable life period. Suicide rates tend to increase with age, but in some countries a secondary peak has been recently shown in the age 15-24 years. In Greece, 8.3% of adolescent boys and 17.6% of girls reported that they had seriously «considered suicide» at least once in their life. Suicide attempt rates were 0.86% and 3.02% for boys and girls respectively. Suicide deaths were 9 in 2001 in Greece, a very low suicide death rate compared to other parts of the world (0.75/100.000 adolescents).