This study aims to find out mental health problems and examine their role in prediction of psychiatric conditions in street children in residential care. Five (5) street children residential centres in Lusaka District, as well as a cross-section of street children (74) in residential care aged between 7 and 17 years were used for this study. Overall, 74 (68 males and 6 females) children in residential care were at risk of having a mental health problem. Forty of them were at risk of having multiple mental health problems. The most frequent disorders were behavioural and emotional disorders, because 40.5% of the children and young people scored above average stress levels. The findings also indicated a strong correlation between co-morbidity and overall stress, rho = 68, n = 74, p < 0.001, that is, co-morbidity helps to explain 46% shared variance in respondent’s scores on overall stress. There was a strong relationship between mental health problems and prediction of psychiatric conditions in street children. The results in this study illustrate that mental heath problems and levels of stress co-exist. Therefore, assessment of multiple mental health problems in providing mental health services to street children in residential care should be included in the management plan. In addition, multiple mental health problems indicate the complexities of mental health problems, an aspect that demands collaborative efforts from various stakeholders involved in child care systems.
Key words: Co-morbidity, mental-health-problems, stress-among-street-children, residential-care.
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