A. Cipriani, United KingdomUniversity of Oxford Department of Psychiatry
Moderator of 2 Sessions
The focus on adolescent health has been increasing in recent years, with a growing recognition that these years are pivotal in the development and maintenance of health behaviours and outcomes through the life course. Adolescence is a key period for mental health disorder onset, with half of lifetime onset by age. Research over previous decades suggests that the prevalences of mental health problems are increasing in teenagers across different countries. Generally, young patients, particularly those with schizophrenia, may have peculiar needs in terms of treatment, both non-pharmacological and pharmacological. This requires a specific focus on shared decision making, involving patients and caregivers in the treatment process starting from the definition of treatment goals. A proper control of symptoms is essential, nevertheless it is clear that quality of life and functionality should represent a primary target for patients with schizophrenia, caregivers and physicians. A new opportunity for the diagnosis and treatment of schizophrenia in young patients is represented by digital tools. There is a growing field of research that is highlighting the potential effect of digital tools in the whole clinical management of patients, being the young patients particularly keen to the use of digital opportunities. The digital approach already showed to be useful to guarantee a minimum level of care during the COVID pandemic, e.g. telepsychiatry, nevertheless it seems to be a promising option beyond the pandemic because it can promote a patient-centric mindset, empowering patients with schizophrenia and their caregivers.