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The information was released at the 2023 National Psychiatric Conference, recently held in early August HCM City.

Dr Nguyen Thi Kieu Tien of the HCM City Psychiatric Hospital said most adolescents come to the hospital for mental health examinations when they have typical symptoms, including poor communication, reduced learning records, irritability and insomnia. Many of them have thought of suicide or self-destructive activities. 

The most commonly seen phenomenon (23.3 percent) is persistent sadness.

After medical examination, doctors diagnosed 69.8 percent of depressed patients with severe depression; 25.6 percent with moderate depression; and 4.6 percent with mild depression.

The survey found a relation between increased depression and personal characteristics of the patients, such as gender, age, education level, and family history.

In general, females are more likely to suffer from depression at the age of 14-16 when they go to secondary and high school. More than 69.8 percent of the patients had good learning aptitude and 23.2 percent are considered excellent students, while students with average learning aptitude accounted for only 7 percent.

Doctors say that the common symptoms of depressed teenagers are low mood, decreased concentration, and feelings of worthlessness. Most children come to see the doctor when symptoms have appeared for more than 12 months and depression is already severe.

The researchers stressed that the survey was conducted by collecting information from the outpatient clinic of the hospital in 2022, so the figures do not represent the community. 

The problem is that there are not many research works on depression among adolescents carried out in Vietnam, so it is difficult to identify universal characteristics about depression in Vietnam.

Doctors stressed that depression in adolescents is a common problem which affects patients, families and societal development, but it has not received appropriate attention.

In late 2022, ActionAid International in Vietnam released a report on mental health care at schools after a survey of 1,000 students, parents and teachers. Nearly 50 percent of children said their parents were too harsh and the pressure from failures in learning were two major factors harming children’s mental health.

In October 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education and Training released a report after surveying students’ health behaviors. Accordingly, 12.59 percent of students always felt lonely, 16.81 percent found it difficult to focus on doing home exercises and 15 percent once thought of committing suicide.

Linh Giao