Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

08.14 19 Nov 2019


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Around one in four young people in Ireland suffer from severe anxiety, according to a major survey on the state of youth mental health in Ireland.

More than 19,000 young people between 12 and 25 took part in the UCD and JIGSAW 'My World Survey 2' - the largest of its kind in Ireland.

It's a follow-up to the first My World Survey in 2012, and has found significant increases in the levels of anxiety and depression.

The new survey shows the number of teenagers (12-19 years) reporting severe anxiety rose from 11% to 22%, while it's up from 15% to 26% among young adults (18-25 years).

With regards depression, 15% of teenagers reported the problem as being severe or very severe, up from 7%, while the number of young adults experiencing depression is up 7% to 21%.

Dr Joseph Duffy, CEO of Jigsaw, said that while young people today are more aware of their mental health, social media is having a big impact:

He explained: "That really wasn't a significant feature back in 2011, 2012.

"For some young people, the longer they spend online might impact on their ability to actually form social networks, and they might be comparing themselves negatively in terms of body image or the extent of their friendship networks."

Dr Duffy added: "[The survey] tells us that an increasing number of young people are continuing to experience high levels of anxiety and depression.

"This not only poses a huge challenge for mental health services, but also to each one of us as adults.

"This study also shows that the presence of a consistently supportive and understanding adult in a young person's life is one of the most immediate and effective responses we can offer to a young person in distress".

The survey also highlights a drop in the number of teenagers reporting bullying, down six points to 39%, and in the numbers reporting to have ever drank alcohol, from 51% to 42%.

Main image: File photo. Picture by: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire/PA Images

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