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Hard routes of mental health in Portugal: what can we offer to an adolescent with serious mental illness and multiple social risk factors?


Worldwide, millions of children and adolescents are suffering due to a lack of efficient mental healthcare. Although some progress has been made to address the mental health problems in this age group, currently, even developed countries fail in providing psychiatric patients with the best practice care. We present a case of a Portuguese adolescent with a first episode of psychosis in whom multiple social and environmental risk factors were identified as triggers to his clinical presentation, as well as fundamental determinants of prognosis in the short and long term. In this case, we demonstrate how social determinants, including poverty, family dysfunction and difficulties in accessing appropriate mental healthcare, strongly influence the development, maintenance and prognosis in early psychosis during adolescence. Furthermore, we consider the implications of an absence of community-based mental healthcare and rehabilitation services and reasons for why this may complicate the management and limit opportunities to this patient population.

  • global Health
  • child and adolescent psychiatry
  • healthcare improvement and patient safety
  • psychotic disorders (incl schizophrenia)

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