P-136 A Teenager Has Alerting Symptoms Of Mental Disorder: What Should We Do Next?

Kähärä K. (Kauhajoki), Grönlund J. (Sastamala), Mattila K. (Tampere)
In Kauhajoki occurred an incident of school shooting on Sept 23 2008. A student killed nine of his fellow students, one teacher and himself. The aim of this study was to evaluate how a teenager with mental problems was able to achieve appropriate care in Kauhajoki before this tragic incident. A questionnaire was sent in April 2008 to 1200 inhabitants (age 15–84 years) in Kauhajoki area. The receivers were asked to tell their opinion on how they would help a person with different mental health problems and how urgently the person would need help. Considering the problems of a teenager the specific question was: “A friend of your son is a 15-year old teenager. His behaviour has changed and he is not attending school regularly. His grades are clearly dropping. During weekends he is not spending time at home and you don’t know about his companions. Probably he is using alcohol heavily. How do you evaluate the situation?”
Results: The response rate of the population was 45%. Of the responders there were 60% (n = 326) female persons and 38% (n = 205) male. The male inhabitants and the young inhabitants (born 1993–1961) responded less than the older and female inhabitants. Only 51% of the responders considered that the teenager would need help and intervention urgently. On an average the female responders were more worried of the symptoms than the male responders. If the responders suggested urgent intervention, they estimated that appropriate care would be provided by school health care system.
Conclusions: In this study only half of the responders representing Kauhajoki population were concerned about the mental problems of the teenager. This finding was most prominent among the young and male responders. In some cases mental disorders in young people increase the risk of severe behavioural disturbances such as violent behaviour. What should we do next?
A teenager has alerting symptoms of mental disorder: what should we do next?