Patients of a F-ACT youth team: juveniles with severe mental illness
background While three quarters of all psychiatric disorders develop before the age of eighteen, mental health services are barely enlisted by adolescents. This population is increasingly targeted by f-act youth teams (flexible assertive community treatment) in the Netherlands, considering regular mental health services often encounter difficulty in reaching out to them. It remains unknown how severe their psychopathology can be.
aim To describe the adolescents being treated in a f-act youth team, outlining their problems and needs. To answer the question whether youngsters under the age of eighteen can meet the criteria of severe mental illness (smi).
method An inventory was made of all adolescents referred to our f-act youth team regarding psychiatric diagnosis and limitations in social functioning. Two case reports were included as subsequent illustration.
results The juvenile population treated by our f-act youth team (n = 30) were predominantly males (n = 20). They suffered from various psychiatric problems, often coinciding with longstanding social limitations. Three quarters of these youths could meet the criteria of smi.
conclusion It was established that a substantial amount of juveniles under the age of eighteen meet the criteria of smi. This could facilitate the provision of targeted care for youths. However, there is also the risk of stigmatisation.