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15,000 young people to be consulted in largest ever study of Ireland's youth mental health

Picture: Alan Rowlette for Jigsaw

In association with Jigsaw, the National Centre for Youth Mental Health

My World Survey 2, the largest ever study of Ireland’s youth mental health has been launched by UCD in partnership with Jigsaw, the National Centre for Youth Mental Health.

My World Survey 2 will consult with more than 15,000 young people between the ages of 12 – 25 in order to build and improve our collective knowledge in the area of youth mental health.

It follows on from My World Survey 1, a 2012 study by UCD and Jigsaw which, to date, remains the most significant study of its kind in Ireland.

Speaking at the launch of My World Survey 2, UCD Lead Researcher, Professor Barbara Dooley suggested that by repeating this research at a different time and asking similar questions, it enables the collection of information that can easily be compared.

"In this way, the findings from both waves of My World Survey can be used to inform and influence youth mental policy and practice in Ireland.

One of the key themes that emerged in My World Survey 1 was that having One Good Adult® is important to the mental wellbeing of young people.

Over 70% of young people reported that they received very high or high support from a special adult.

Young people who perceived very low support from a special adult when in need had significantly higher levels of depression and anxiety.

The presence of One Good Adult® is a key indicator of how well a young person is connected, self-confident, future looking and can cope with problems.

From these findings Jigsaw has developed guidance and training on how everyone can become that One Good Adult® and support the young people in their lives, based on the simple message that all it takes is to truly listen to the young people around you and to let them know that you hear them.

My World Survey 2 aims to gain new insight into, and increase understanding of, young people’s mental health and wellbeing from a risk and protective perspective within their social context.

Having a baseline from My World Survey 1 means that, for the first time ever, researchers will be able to comprehensively track changes, either improvements or deterioration, in young people’s mental health.

Not only will these findings form the foundation of programme development for Jigsaw’s prevention and early intervention approach, but they can also be used to inform and influence youth mental health policy and practice in Ireland.

Jigsaw CEO Dr Joseph Duffy said the My World Survey 2 has the potential to protect and improve all our young people’s health and wellbeing turning research, evidence and knowledge into action.

"It will be a seminal piece of work and we are delighted to join with UCD and ESB in driving Jigsaw’s evidence-informed agenda forward.”

Jerry O’Sulivan, ESB’s Deputy CEO, went on to suggest that collaborative, high-impact, research in the area of youth mental health was vital to future generations of Irish young people.

"This is core to the ethos of ESB’s Energy for Generation Fund,”

My World Survey 2 is a 15-month research project with data collection taking place between October 2018 and May 2019. Final results will be published in December 2019. To learn more or enquire about registration please email myworldsurvey2@ucd.ie

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