About 50 per cent of all mental disorders start before the age of 14 Dr Savita Malhotra says
Dr Savita Malhotra says half of all mental disorders start before attaining the age of 14, who heads the Department of Psychiatry at PGIMER Chandigarh, emphasising the importance of the early years of a person’s life
She was delivering the Prof NN Wig Oration which the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research (PGIMER) has been hosting since 2018 in memory of Prof Narendra Nath Wig, Founder of the institute’s Department of Psychiatry. This year, the theme of the oration was ‘Child Mental Health: The Universe of Mental Health’.
Pointing out that adverse events such as poverty, abuse, deprivation, loss, bereavement, conflict and trauma have a deep-rooted influence on the development of an individual’s personality and mental health, she said: ‘About 50 per cent of all mental disorders start before the age of 14 and 75 per cent before the age of 25.’
The professor added that early diagnosis and intervention in childhood can prevent certain psychiatric disorders or can lead to healthier development. ‘Child mental health represents the universe of mental health and should be accorded highest priority in our mental health planning,’ Dr Malhotra said. “Several international organisations like the WHO and UNICEF have proposed policies and programmes for infants and children to improve mental health and achieve primary prevention“.