International Journal of Social Psychiatry
Background: Poor social interactions have been recognized as a symptom since the beginnings of psychiatry. As far as socially withdrawn youth (SWY) are concerned, studies were mostly conducted on patients seeking care. Our psychiatric outreach team called Psymobile was able to reach SWY patients who were not seeking mental health care. Aims: To identify the clinical and socio-demographic characteristics of SWY patients referred to our Psymobile unit. Method: We carried out a retrospective study on the records of patients aged 18–34years, who were referred to Psymobile for ‘withdrawal’, between April 2012 and December 2015.
Results: In total, 66 patients were included in the study. SWY are predominantly male (80%) from large families or single-parent ones. About 42% had no prior contact with a mental health professional before being referred to Psymobile. The mean duration of withdrawal is 29 months. In all, 42% of SWY use cannabis and 73% present disorders of the sleep–wake schedule. About 71% maintain relations with their families and 73% go out occasionally. They are mostly diagnosed with schizophrenia (37%) or mood disorders (23%).
Conclusion: Over one-third of Psymobile patients aged 18–34years were referred on grounds of social withdrawal. Our data may illustrate more accurately the situation of youth social withdrawal amid the general population than data from help-seeking patients or online questionnaires.