Dutch young people have higher rates of mental illness than rest of Europe
Those in the Netherlands in life threatening danger should immediately dial 112 for emergencies, and anyone suffering from depression or contemplating suicide can call 113 Zelfmoordpreventie at any time by dialing either 113 or 0800-0113, or by visiting 113.nl.
It is estimated that 18 percent of Dutch adolescents (10 - 19 years old) have a mental health disorder, which is more than the European Union average, according to Unicef. Their European report provides information on the stress and psychological distress of young people and makes recommendations to governments across Europe. It also contains data on the percentage of Dutch youth with a mental illness. In Europe, an average of 16.3 percent of young people has a mental disorder. Worldwide, the figure is 13 percent, according to the report.
"Data on the mental health of youth in the Netherlands is badly needed. The Netherlands does not track how often mental disorders occur or what the course and consequences are. We also do not know whether or not young people get help and which young people are particularly at risk of a mental disorder," said Suzanne Laszlo, director of Unicef Netherlands. She added, "There needs to be a clear picture of the mental health of young people in the Netherlands, so we can see how things are going and what is needed in terms of prevention and treatment."
The mental health of the youth worsened during the coronavirus pandemic due to isolation, tension, and loss of income within families. However, mental health problems are not new. Long before the pandemic, parents, teachers, and many others were sounding alarm bells about the mental well-being of children and young people.
These mental health concerns include depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, autism, schizophrenia, personality disorders, and ADHD. Unicef warns that suicide is the second leading cause of death in Europe among young people, preceded only by traffic injuries, in the 15 - 19 age range.
Unicef has five recommendations for European institutions and national governments. These include providing vulnerable groups access to health services and school programs to build social skills. Unicef also supports the inclusion of mental health services in national action plans that include digital and online resources. They recommend investing in mental health training for social workers caring for refugee children. Finally, Unicef urges nations to incorporate mental health services into development assistance programs and during humanitarian crises.