One third of youth in Georgia suffer symptoms of depression - UNICEF study
Depression among youth in Georgia
According to a study by the UN Children’s Fund, one in four young people in Georgia experiences symptoms of moderate or severe anxiety, one in three suffer from signs of depression, and a third of students have thought about suicide at least once in their lives. The study was conducted among 18-24 year old students at seven state universities in Georgia.
The study was conducted in 2022 by child rights centers established in seven public universities with the support of the UN Children’s Fund. 2,995 students from Kutaisi, Batumi, Gori, Samtskhe-Javakheti, Telavi, Zugdidi and Sukhumi universities were surveyed to study mental health awareness and access to mental health services.
Field work was carried out from November 17 to December 12, 2022. In-depth interviews were also conducted with people involved in the development of mental health legislative policy, local government health officials and mental health professionals.
According to research, young people are one of the most vulnerable groups in terms of mental health.
Seventy-two percent of students surveyed say mental health problems have interfered with their daily activities and relationships in the past two weeks. Ninety-seven percent of those surveyed have heard the term “mental health,” but a third of them have very little information on the subject and have not spoken to anyone about their feelings and experiences related to mental health.
Barriers to accessing mental health care include lack of information, high prices for specialist appointments and medications, distrust of specialists, and fears about confidentiality.
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According to experts, supportive, preventative or rehabilitative services are not available to young people.
According to UNICEF, young people with depression, anxiety disorders or panic attacks are most often seen by mental health professionals. Addiction to psychotropic substances and the mental disorders caused by them – paranoia, hallucinations, sleep disturbances – are considered a serious problem among young people.
The UN Children’s Fund considers it important to develop appropriate public services that are free and sustainable for young people. According to them, when planning services and programs in the field of mental health, it is important to take into account the age characteristics of young people in order to make these services interesting and attractive to them.