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LETTER TO EDITOR  
Year : 2013  |  Volume : 38  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 187
 

Adolescent health issues


Resident Editor, Your Health of IMA, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Date of Web Publication8-Aug-2013

Correspondence Address:
Soumyadeep Bhaumik
Resident Editor, Your Health of IMA, Kolkata, West Bengal
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0970-0218.116359

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How to cite this article:
Bhaumik S. Adolescent health issues. Indian J Community Med 2013;38:187

How to cite this URL:
Bhaumik S. Adolescent health issues. Indian J Community Med [serial online] 2013 [cited 2017 Dec 15];38:187. Available from: http://www.ijcm.org.in/text.asp?2013/38/3/187/116359


Sir,

I read with much interest, the editorial titled "Promoting adolescent health and development in South East Asia." [1] The editorial by Dr. Samlee Plianbangchang, who is a pioneer, rightly brings into focus an issue, which is actually a cause of concern not only in the SEARO region but also in the whole world. It provides a cutting edge analysis of the current scenario as well as the path forward for adolescent care. However, much of the apathy towards adolescent health, as rightly pointed out by the article, is due to low mortality of adolescent as compared to other priority health groups. The lack of political/planning will is also due to the fact that none of the social or economic indicators/indices in use internationally include any parameter related of adolescent health. The lack of such parameters is detrimental for adolescent health. Politicians and policy makers are dominated by the will to "show-case" their achievements nationally as well as internationally. Creation of a common comprehensive index, which would include health parameters of all priority health groups, is the need of the hour. WHO/United Nations must look forward to such a step in the future so that the cost of prioritizing one priority group is not borne by negligence of the others. Unless such a step is taken, there will be a lack of political and social will always.

Being a general practitioner basically, I would also like to bring into attention one more aspect of adolescent health that has been much ignored by physicians as well as public health planners. The increasing pathological use of social networking sites (SNS) like facebook is becoming a major cause of concern. Unlike the popular belief that this is a disease of the "rich-spoilt kids," it is indeed very common in all households, irrespective of social and economic status. In the last year, I have seen quite a few cases of SNS-addicted adolescents who had complained of symptoms ranging from separation anxiety to SNS, decreased sleep, reluctancy/inability to socialize, inability to stop playing SNS-based games like "farmville," and obsessive internet browsing to find materials for the purpose of "status updates" or "sharing." With every passing month, I am getting more and more of such cases. More studies are needed to determine this new set of clinical signs and symptoms and also its epidemiology and true incidence and prevalence. An aspect that is severely hampering the mental health of adolescents with regards to SNS, though in varying degrees, is stalking of ex-partners. [2],[3] Adolescent females are often harassed to the extent of depression and low self-esteem and need psychiatric health. One interesting case, which I referred to a psychiatrist, was that of a teenage student, from a middle class family, who had created an official fan page of hers in Facebook where she had described herself in terms like a "Public Figure," "a great thinker," and a "charming beauty." She has also described various fictional roles and talents in order to get more "likes." Health experts should immediately give guidelines about effective management of such cases for general physicians (who are at loss when faced with similar scenarios) - as parents are often reluctant to take their kids to a psychiatrist and get labeled "mad" for something "virtual."

I, therefore, request community health experts in India as well as the leading health agencies of the world like WHO to accommodate and research the above-mentioned issues regarding adolescent health so that we can be assured of responsible and healthy young adults.

 
   References Top

1.Plianbangchang S. Promoting adolescent health and development in south-east Asia. Indian J Community Med 2011;36:245-6.  Back to cited text no. 1
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
2.Deirmenjian JM. Stalking in cyberspace. J Am Acad Psychiatry Law 1999;27:407-13.  Back to cited text no. 2
[PUBMED]    
3.Lyndon A, Bonds-Raacke J, Cratty AD. College students' facebook stalking of ex-partners. Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw 2011;14:711-6.  Back to cited text no. 3
[PUBMED]    




 

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