“Generation performance” with mental health issues

Mental health problems are a big public health-challenge. In September the InnoMed program gathered professionals from different fields within health to discuss what we can do about the rapid changing in society and issues regarding children and teenagers mental health. Do we have the right solutions today, and since young people are especially vulnerable, do they get the help and support that they need?

The generation from 1995 and up is called iGen. This generation has a trend of the mental health issues anxiety, depression and loneliness.

– Young people today have an extended vocabulary, they are more empowered, and they talk more about things that before were connected to shame. It is hard to know if the state today is worse or if it is just a change in knowledge and society, says Municipality Psychologist, Fjell, Trude Senneseth.

Ungdata 2018 shows that to perform at school is a big load for teenagers. 35 % of boys and 69 % of girls in High School say they are experiencing stress.

The SHOT 2018 survey shows that 29 % reports serious mental health problems and 38 % have sought help for mental health problems.

Few Nordic studies

– Because there are few studies with a health promoting-focus, there is problems with implementing health promoting measures and to strengthen the measures that work, says Jens Christoffer Skogen, Senior Researcher, Ph.D, Health Promoting work at Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

There are also troubling few Nordic studies on mental health issues in children and teenagers. Most of the studies used in Nordic reports originates from countries like USA, England and Australia.

Luckily, more Norwegian studies are on the way. Because there is a big need for individual studies of different groups of children and teenagers.

Professor Kjell Morten Stormark from Uni Research Health, showed us some results that indicates how smart phones and social media affects interaction.

– Face to face and social interaction is critical for psychological well-being. Social media expands the possibility to share experiences and memories, but also changes the premises for interaction. For example, there is not possibilities for face-to-face contact, says Stormark.

The future treatment

A group of students in Bergen are working towards opening the free student clinic, STUEN. The clinic is run by students and is interdisciplinary, from the fields medicine, psychology, physiotherapy and nutrition. They are working towards the ambitions access and information.

They did their research and traveled to Canada to find out how to run a student clinic.

– It was surprising to see so many different actors, both private and public, work together to solve widespread health issues. It was inspiring and fun to contribute. That we also got constructive input on our project and got to hear more about other measures and build a network, led to that we had a huge learning outcome of the participation, says Xenia Cappelen, co-founder of the student clinic STUEN.

Head of department of children’s psychiatric diseases at Haukeland University Hospital, Paul Joakim Thorsen, tells us that in future treatment, they will use more of what the young people already are familiar with, for example avatars and photos – to express feelings. The goal is to give better access to information about treatment, create less fear and stigma and give more ownership to treatment.

– At the sports arena, we want to find out what activity matches which kid – independent of their parents’ economy and location, says Thorsen.

Some of the issues regarding mental health is being addressed by new companies offering new technology. Start-ups Lifekeys and Healthline was invited to presented their innovative solutions. Lifekeys offers an online psychological service with flexible appointments, short waiting time and no travel.. Healthline has developed a digital system – La Linea – for managing and coordinating interdisciplinary processes and interaction in areas such as public health. It was met with great interest from Municipality Psychologist Trude Senneseth:

– This should be implemented in all municipalities, Senneseth stated.

Kyrre Breivik presented UNGsinn, an important source to information about programs available in childhood from the youngest and through special school programs. UNGsinn is meant to be a portal to evidence based practice and a support for decisions to implement and offer services to children, young people and their families.

– I did not know there were so many great measures around prevention of mental health. I am impressed that you have gathered these many professionals and that they came voluntarily, says Leila Rossow, Project Leader of Papillon and Catalysts Bergen.

InnoMed

InnoMed stimulates demand-driven innovation in the health sector through projects, tools and events. InnoMed supports initiatives that make use of evidence-based tools and have a national role of coordinating projects within the medical field. InnoMed is part of the government’s plan for building competence within medical innovation in all parts of Norway.

The ambition of the InnoMed-meeting was to make sure that knowledge and experience from research and practice is shared and that it can provide the basis for the development and establishment of new measures for the benefit of those growing up. It is also a goal to initiate processes in which new solutions are made and cooperation established. The overall goal is that the services work and that the young people get access to them.

You can find most of the presentations from the meeting here.