Prevalence of Depression and Generalized Anxiety Disorder Among Mexican Indigenous Adolescents and Young Adults: Challenges for Healthcare


Providing evidence on mental disorders in indigenous adolescents is critical to achieving universal health coverage (UHC). The prevalence of symptoms of depression and generalized anxiety disorder symptoms were estimated for 2082 adolescents aged 14–20 years in Chiapas, Mexico. Mental disorders were assessed using the 9-item Patient-Health Questionnaire and the 7-item Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale. Among the adolescents evaluated, 35.8% suffered from depression or generalized anxiety disorder. Of those, 6.1% reported a previous diagnosis. 32.1% of adolescents with both mental disorders reported having attempted suicide. Gender, substance use, adverse living experiences and living conditions were correlated to the presence of depression and/or generalized anxiety disorder. It is mandatory for Mexican health authorities to develop effective instruments aiming to screen and diagnose mental health conditions in adolescents, as well as to provide timely treatment in primary health-care units.

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The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases (GACD) and the National Council of Science and Technology of Mexico (CONACYT).


Funding was provided by Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases (GACD) and the National Council of Science and Technology of Mexico (CONACYT) (Grant No. 291102).

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Correspondence to Luz María Gonzalez-Robledo.

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Serván-Mori, E., Gonzalez-Robledo, L.M., Nigenda, G. et al. Prevalence of Depression and Generalized Anxiety Disorder Among Mexican Indigenous Adolescents and Young Adults: Challenges for Healthcare. Child Psychiatry Hum Dev 52, 179–189 (2021).

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  • Mental disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Adolescents
  • Primary healthcare
  • Mexico