The Health and Well-being of Children and Adolescents Accessing In-Patient Psychiatry: A Brief Report.
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Objective: People with mental illness have high rates of physical illness that are not detected and that shorten their lifespan. Health behaviours are central to physical health, and many children and adolescents with psychiatric illness may be at risk for poor physical health. The purpose for this study was to explore the self-reported health behaviours and well-being of pediatric psychiatric patients and their association with mental health problems. Methods: Pediatric patients hospitalized for psychiatric care were invited to complete a survey containing items on amount of physical activity, nutrient intake and sleep, a standardized perceived stress scale, and the Strengths and Difficult Questionnaire. Results: Informed consent was provided by 161 patients who completed the survey. Youth reported: engaging in very little physical activity, eating fruits and vegetables about 2-3 times per week, not sleeping well and very high perceived stress. Discussion: Implications for practice include increasing opportunities for and monitoring of health behaviours in youth hospitalized for psychiatric illness. Further research is needed to explore interventions designed to improve the physical health and mental well-being of youth with psychiatric illness and possibly the inpatient environment.
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