Quarter of young people in Ireland suffer from severe anxiety

Quarter of young people in Ireland suffer from severe anxiety

Roughly one in four young people in Ireland suffer from severe anxiety, according to the latest My World Survey into the state of youth mental health in the country.

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

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

Over the period, the number of teenagers reporting anxiety rose from 11% to 22% while the number is up from 15% to 26% among young adults.

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

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

"(Social media) wasn't a significant feature in 2011 or 2012," he outlined. "For some young people, the longer they spend online, that might impact on their ability to actually form social networks and they might be comparing themselves negatively in terms of body image or in terms of friendship networks or the extent of their friendship networks."

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

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