Psychiatric centres needed for Iraqi children

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Psychiatric illness among Iraqi children in Baghdad is such a problem that child psychiatric centres are needed, a new study has found.

The study was carried out at the Al-Yarmouk Teaching Hospital in Baghdad. Of the 11,452 psychiatric patients attending the outpatient psychiatric department between July 2001 and July 2003, 945 were below the age of 18, and 108 were aged between four and twelve.

All the children were given a semi-structured interview, and assessed by a social worker and by a psychiatrist. Of the 108 young children, 62 were boys and 46 girls. The most common problems were found to be emotional disorders (30%), followed by epilepsy (18%) and depression (13%).

The authors of the study conclude that the mental health of Iraqi children is a problem, and that those attending hospital need to be carefully assessed among the psychiatric patients. Psychiatric centres should be set up that are specifically designed for children.

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