Michael Staines
Michael Staines

11.11 5 Jul 2019


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Young people in Ireland suffer from the highest levels of depression in Europe.

A new cross-EU study has found that young women are more likely to suffer from depression than men.

Some 17% of women in Ireland between the ages of 15 and 24-years-old reported experiencing moderate to severe depression.

Meanwhile, 9% of young men said they had experienced the same symptoms.

Depression Incidence of moderate to severe depression by country and sex. Source: eurostat

The researchers found evidence that young women are more likely to try and handle upsetting feelings internally - and have higher rates of self-harm and eating disorders than young men.

The only countries in Europe where more young men than women suffer from depression are Cyprus, Greece and Lithuania.

Depression

The Eurofound study notes that Ireland has the highest levels of depression across the bloc - both in terms of chronic depression and 'moderate to severe' depression.

Some 12% of young Irish people said they suffered from chronic depression - followed by Finland (11%), Sweden (10%) and Germany (9%).

Sylvia O'Driscoll-Wong, clinical manager of Pieta House in Cork said she was "quite shocked" to hear Ireland's European ranking, although she said the "actual percentage rates are not shocking."

"I suppose I work on a daily basis in Pieta House in Cork and I see huge amounts of 15 to 24-year-olds coming in to Pieta House," she said.

"What did surprise me was the 9% of men and I am wondering, is it because men are less likely to talk about it? So I am just wondering about that figure and if it is accurate."

Mental health services

Access to mental health services were highlighted as a problem in Ireland - with affordability the main problem for young people. The same problem was highlighted in Cyprus, Greece and Malta.

The study highlights social media, homelessness and eating disorders among the pressures that take a toll on young people's mental health.

If found that lower income households were more likely to deal with depression.


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