One In Four Young Adults Experience Mental Disorder

By the age of 24, one in four Irish adults have experienced either a mood or anxiety disorder at some stage in their lives, according to new research.

'The Mental Health Of Young People In Ireland' has been published by the Psychiatric Epidemology Research across the Lifespan (PERL) Group.

The findings demonstrate that anxiety and mood disorders are the most frequently experienced across the lifetime of young people in Ireland.

Approximately one in eight young adolescents had experienced an anxiety disorder and one in seven had experienced a depressive disorder by the age of 13 years.

The research has shown evidence that mental disorders, deliberate self-harm and notions of suicide are common among young adolescents and young adults in Ireland.

It found that by the age of 13 years almost one in three young people will have experienced some form of mental disorder.

Substance use and misuse are common among young adults in Ireland.

By the age of 24 years, almost three in four young adults had engaged in binge drinking and one in five met criteria for a substance use disorder at some time in their lives.

Deliberate self-harm and suicidal ideation had been experienced by one in 15 of the 11-13 year olds interviewed.

For young adults, just under one in 10 had engaged in deliberate self-harm and one in five had experienced suicidal thoughts over their lifetime.

The research also identified a range of risk factors such as experiences of family discord, intimate relationship abuse and stress related to death, health, work and relationships.

Being of a minority sexual orientation was also associated with mental ill-health among young adults.

The report stated "an urgent need to maximise the efficiency and effectiveness of mental health promotion, prevention and intervention in Ireland."

It stated four main points:

1. Include mental health literacy as a core part of the educational curriculum in primary and second level education.

2. Develop school-based interventions that promote and support help-seeking skills among young people.

3. Ensure that, when young people do seek help, quality, youth-friendly mental health services and supports will be available and accessible to them.

4. Develop comprehensive, specialist youth mental health services that provide continuous care through the adolescent and emerging adult years.

The report said: "We recognise that tackling the reality of mental ill-health among Irish young people requires collective action from families, communities, educators, health and mental health professionals, policy-makers, budget holders and our political leaders.

"Importantly, it also requires the input and expert advice of young people themselves and it is essential that we facilitate young people in having their voices heard so that they can contribute to the development of mental health services and supports that will meet their needs."


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