Mental disorders and mental health problems seem to have increased considerably among adolescents in the past 20-30 years. Adolescents constitute an important part of our community, yet attention to their mental health is meager. The study was done to determine the distribution of psychiatric symptoms among adolescents and the characteristics of high- and low-risk groups in Indian society. After ethical clearance, a stratified clustered sample of students from various rural and urban based schools were asked to fill the Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ, based on which students with abnormal or borderline score were selected and were followed by clinical interview, detailed case history, and Mental State Examination and psychiatric disorders were diagnosed following ICD -10 criteria.A total of 912 participants in the age range 11-16 years participated in this study. The overall distribution of psychiatric morbidity among adolescents in all four schools combined was found to be 20.39%. Odds of having Psychiatric disorders were more among female children (24.12%) as compared to male children (17.50%), OR= 1.49 (p<0.05). Adolescents with history of drug abuse among first degree relatives showed higher levels of stress.Teachers at school level should be trained to identify students with compromised mental health so that their psychiatric problems can be identified at the earliest and proper treatment could be started.
Keywords: Adolescents, Schools, Mental disorders, morbidity