The rates of behaviour disorders, substance abuse, eating disorders, depression, and suicidal behaviour have all increased substantially. Studies in a number of countries have shown rates of illness similar or higher than those in adults. Between 10% and 20% of young people at any one time have mental disorders that are severe enough to cause significant impairment in functioning and to warrant treatment.

Adolescent psychiatric conditions are traditionally divided into 2 main groups:

  • emotional disorders and
  • behavioural or disruptive disorders.

Children with emotional disorders exhibit disordered emotions, typically anxiety and depression, whereas those with behavioural disorders display abnormal conduct.

(Ref: Management of Mental Disorders, World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre)