Global mental helse


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PHD Candidate

Vilde Skylstad: The health system from the user perspective in child mental health

Vilde Skylstad is investigating the epidemiology of childhood substance use globally and in Mbale, Uganda, and its contextual factors in the home, community and political society.


Skylstad is a medical doctor and PhD fellow at the Centre for International Health, University of Bergen. She was part of the Medical Student’s Research Programme studying community perspectives on child mental health in Mbale. The study was part of the larger SeeTheChild - Mental child health in Uganda. As well as being academically invested in addiction medicine, Vilde has worked clinically in the field as a nurse assistant and doctor at the emergency room for overdoses and addiction in Bergen and Oslo.

Children and Alcohol

In the course of the SeeTheChild-study the investigators discovered that children in the age group 5-8 years were consuming alcohol. As childhood substance use has potential dire public health consequences the TREAT C-AUD research project was formed, aiming at exploring the existence of substance use in children in Uganda.

(link to come) TREAT C-AUD - Childhood alcohol and substance use in Uganda and its associated somatic and psychosocial risk factors and outcomes

PhD plan

In her PhD, Skylstad will use a mixed methods approach. She will explore a qualitative data material on factors related to substance use in children before the age of 10, including focus groups discussion with parents and key informant interviews with social workers, health sector practitioners, bar owners, and other local stakeholders. Further, she will conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis on the global prevalence of alcohol and substance use in community populations of children age 6-13 years. Lastly, she will investigate data from the TREAT C-AUD project on psychosocial and nutritional associations with childhood substance use. She is contributing in supervising theses for students in medicine and nutrition.


Link to publications (first author): Child mental illness and the help-seeking process: a qualitative study among parents in a Ugandan community