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Salud Pública de México

Print version ISSN 0036-3634


CARAVEO-ANDUAGA, Jorge Javier; COLMENARES-BERMUDEZ, Eduardo  and  MARTINEZ-VELEZ, Nora Angélica. Mental symptoms perceptions of healthcare needs, and health care seeking behaviors, among children and adolescents in Mexico City. Salud pública Méx [online]. 2002, vol.44, n.6, pp.492-498. ISSN 0036-3634.

Objectives. To estimate the prevalence of behavioral and emotional symptoms in children and adolescents; to identify parents' perception of their children's healthcare needs; and to estimate the frequency of seeking mental healthcare services. Material and Methods. A household survey was carried out between July and November 1995 in Mexico City. The survey was representative of persons aged 18 to 65 years. Study subjects were 1685 children 4 to 16 years of age and living in the same household as their parents. Informant parents provided data on their children regarding the presence of 27 symptoms, their perceptions of healthcare needs of symptomatic children, and mental healthcare-seeking behaviors. Logistic regression was used for statistical analysis. Results. Symptoms were reported for half of the population. Twenty-five percent of children was perceived by their parents as in need for healthcare, and only 13% sought healthcare. Internalization symptoms were more frequently perceived by parents and led to seeking healthcare. Conclusions. Study findings suggest a delay in seeking mental healthcare in children and should be of value for clinicians, and to establish primary level mental healthcare policies and programs.

Keywords : prevalence; mental health services; child; adolescence; Mexico.

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