Researchers at Karolinska Institute have found that one in ten Stockholmers aged 13 to 17 received psychiatric care in 2013. Among those aged 18-24, seven percent had similarly received treatment.
"Mental ill health is our biggest public-health problem," researcher Christina Dalman told the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.
Figures from southern Sweden are about half as high. While the statistics suggest that young Stockholmers are feeling worse than their southern peers, part of the discrepancy could also be due to them asking for help more often.
"We do know that big cities give worse health," Dalman said. "But maybe mental ill health is not as stigmatized in their world."
In comparison, 4.8 percent of children and teens in southern Skåne County come into contact with psychiatric healthcare. The regional head of children and youth psychiatry (BUP) said he was taken aback by the figures from Stockholm.
"I have to say I'm a bit surprised by the numbers in Stockholm," Hans Braur said. "I've worked for nine years at BUP and we've constantly been at around 5 percent."
Karolinska researcher Dalman said another possible explanation for the high number in Stockholm could be that young people go straight to psychiatric care clinics, rather than first consult their general practitioner at the primary care level (vårdcentral).