Pedals - Prevalence of emotional distress and mental disorders among teenagers in Sweden and their need for support

Pedals is an ambitious research project that aims to estimate the prevalence of emotional distress and mental disorders among teenagers in Sweden and to evaluate their need for support, with the overarching aim of a broader perspective on support for mental health.

A female teenager sitting in the window
iStock Photo: Tunatura

In Sweden and several other western countries, the utilization of mental health care is steadily increasing over time. On top of this, self-reported mental distress such as nervousness, low self-esteem, and worries, not fulfilling the criteria for a disorder, and not necessarily in need of mental health support, are increasing over time, especially among young individuals.

This scenario calls for discussions on how to handle the current situation, e.g. how large are the groups affected by mental distress (not fulfilling criteria for a diagnosis) and mental disorders (fulfilling criteria for a diagnosis), and what are the needs of our young generation when considering a wide range of support functions including but also beyond the health care system?

The discussion on how to support the possibly increasing group of adolescents with mental health problems sometimes becomes polarized due to our fragmentary knowledge of the actual needs and numbers.

This project will systematically assess:

  • the proportions of adolescents in Sweden with different levels of mental health problems, ranging from emotional distress (which does not fulfill diagnostic criteria) to mental disorders (fulfilling criteria, for, e.g., depression or anxiety), and                                                                                           
  • their need and utilization of support and care, taking a broad view of potential support structures beyond, but including, the health care system.


Project dates: 1 October 2022 - 31 September 2026

Funded by: Forte - Forskningsrådet för hälsa arbetsliv och välfärd

Grant agreement ID: 2022-01002

Contacts for the project

Christina Dalman

Project lead
K9 Department of Global Public Health

Johan Åhlén

Research Specialist

Anna Ohlis

Postdoctoral studies

Hanna Mulder

Project coordinator
+4670-170 48 59
Content owner:
Hanna Johans