UNFOLDING THE STRENGTHS AND DIFFICULTIES AMONG CHILDREN-A STEP IN DETERMINING SCHOOL HEALTH
Keywords:Strengths, difficulties, government schools
Background: Child Mental Health is gaining a lot of importance in India today. Thanks to the contribution of research, education and media. However, adequate support and care needs to be extended to all children in this regard keeping in mind the unequal access and availability of resources owing to economic reasons. One of the attempts made to safeguard child health in Karnataka is through providing health services in schools. While it is important to prevent physical health issues, it poses a bigger challenge to understand the underlying mental health issues among children at an early stage. Hence the study is an attempt to know the Mental Health status of school going children in Bangalore as a base before launching a wider study of the sorts.
Aim: A baseline survey was conducted as an attempt to know the mental health of children of class 7 studying in the Government schools of Bangalore, India.
Method: Strengths and Difficulties questionnaire (SDQ) was administered on 90 children in the age group of 12 to 13 years studying in class 7 from three government schools across Bangalore. The questionnaire included sub scales namely emotional difficulties, Conduct difficulties, Hyperactivity, Peer problems and pro social behaviours.
Results: In the total difficulty score around 31% showed a difficulty level which is above average, about 29% showed difficulties at borderline level and the remaining 30% showed no difficulties at all. (Mode 17 with 5.09 standard deviation). Among them 46.7% had conduct difficulties and 28.9% of them had emotional difficulties.Chi-square test indicated that emotional status and conduct status are significantly associated (p=0.013).
Conclusion: It is evident that more than half of the population face some or the other forms of difficulties in their day to day life resulting in declined mental and social functioning. A comprehensive intervention needs to be planned to safeguard the psychological and social health of children in schools.
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