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Anxiety and psychological distress: 50% increase in demand for youth mental health services last month

This surge in requests for help is the latest in the mental health crisis caused by restrictions and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Image: Shutterstock/fizkes

YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH charity Jigsaw has seen a 50% increase in demand for its services in August this year, compared to August last year.

There has also been an over 400% increase of traffic to its e-mental health platform over the last six months, a surge in demand for its schools supports and a month-on-month increase to calls to 1800 JIGSAW support line.

To meet this demand, Jigsaw is calling on people to support its Revolution campaign, by cycling 100km and raising €100 by World Mental Health Day on 10 October.

Mike Mansfield, Director of Communications and Fundraising at Jigsaw, said that it was clear that young people need support to get them through the coming months.

“What we are hearing from those who have been using our services and supports over the last six months is a real cause for concern.

Isolation, uncertainty and fear are leaving many without the core elements we value and need for our mental wellbeing.

Jigsaw said that it has seen a slight shift in the issues that young people are presenting with since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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While anxiety remains the top issue among young people, the charity has seen an increase in sleep-related issues, family conflict and a marked spike in contacts from parents and teachers seeking support.

Mansfield said: “Lack of connection with those around them as a result of increasing restrictions is leading to high levels of anxiety, low mood and psychological distress.

Continued uncertainty is contributing to a growing sense of hopelessness and fear for the future. Concern and worry for parents and family members are also emerging as central themes. It’s evident that Covid-19, and the measures taken to contain it, will leave many, particularly those who were struggling pre-Covid – scarred.

Revolution x Jigsaw is encouraging people across Ireland to cycle 100km and raise €100 before 10 October, Jigsaw sees this as a practical way to help and support our young people’s mental health.

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