‘Only 1%’ would visit doctor about mental health

ONLY 1% of young people would go a doctor to seek out advice on mental health issues, according to a new survey by a youth charity.

Conducted by SpunOut.ie, the survey, conducted over a one-month period with more than 100 students, also highlighted the importance of the internet for young people, with 30% seeking advice online.

Project worker with the charity Ian Howley said there was concern that young people did not want to approach a professional.

“For so many young people not to feel they can talk to a doctor is alarming,” Mr Howley said. He said while young people could talk openly about mental health issues in general, when it came to their own problems the subject was taboo.

“Another part of the survey showed that young people would recommend that friends and family talk to a doctor. This shows that it tends to be a privacy issue, and when it comes to their own issues they still feel there is a stigma and don’t want to talk about it.”

As part of World Suicide Prevention Week, SpunOut.ie said it is urging young people to speak out, and has enlisted the help of comedian Damian Clark.

Mr Clark features in a specially produced video talking about mental health and wellbeing, which can be viewed on the charity’s website. Mr Howley said while younger people relied more and more on the internet, he warned it was not always a safe environment.

“We need to invest more in online support services to make sure that young people get the correct information online as it is not always a safe environment. People could end up getting the wrong information.”

Meanwhile, mental health resource officer with the HSE South Brenda Crowley said many communities in Cork and Kerry had been touched by the issue of suicide. She said the HSE South was assisting in providing a peer supporteducation programme for young people in a community-based setting.

The programme, which started initially in Midleton, Co Cork, aims to help participants develop listening and communication skills so that they might help other young people who are in some difficulty. Ms Crowley said gardaí, youth workers, and teachers had been trained to deliver the programme to young people in their communities.


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