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Higher risk of accidents for children of parents with mental health issues

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According to a study, conducted by researchers at the Karolinska Institut in Sweden (April 2020) in collaboration with researchers at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, children of parents with mental health issues are more likely to be injured and to experience domestic accidents.

The highest risk, found up to age 17, peaks in the first year of life

In Sweden, 7% 11% of children have parents who have been diagnosed with a mental disorder. The intervention that has been prepared so far for this population was mainly aimed at preventing neglect and mistreatment, while giving little attention to the prevention of injuries and accidents.

Children who have a parent with some mental health issue are 30 percent more likely to get hurt. The risk decreases with increasing age but remains slightly higher for children between 13 and 17 years old.

The risk also seems to be correlated more with severe psychiatric disorders (such as schizophrenia or other psychotic pictures) than with less severe forms (such as depression, anxiety stress) and with the mother figure rather than the father figure.

However, the study does not point to precise causes. It is hypothesized that parents with mental disorders may struggle more to adequately supervise their children and secure their homes. Another hypothesis refers to socioeconomic conditions, which, frequently, in cases of mental disorder, may be less favorable. Finally, the impact of certain drugs should also be evaluated, which, having an effect on attention and vigilance levels, may lower parents’ ability to control and protect themselves.

Source: International Press

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