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Anxiety is the big issue for Ireland's young people

The new research shows more males are seeking help than before.

Image: anxiety via Shutterstock

ANXIETY IS ONE of the main issues facing young adults and teenagers who are seeking help over mental health issues, according to a new study.

The research, published in the Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine, analyses details of Headstrong’s Jigsaw programme.

This is an early intervention scheme taking place across the country.

The study found that the majority presented to the scheme showing ‘high levels of psychological distress’, which were significantly reduced afterwards.

The majority (31.3%) of the 2,420 young people involved referred themselves to the programme, followed by 27% referred by parents and 186% by their GP.

There was also an almost even gender divide.

“Results of this study revealed almost half of the young people who received support from Jigsaw were male,” the study reads.

This is a major strength of the service given that previous research suggests that males do not seek help as frequently as females.

Anxiety topping the list of concerns is consistent with other studies worldwide. The top five were:

  • Anxiety (32% of males, 36% of females)
  • Anger (26% of males, 17% of females)
  • Family problems (21% of males, 21.1% of females)
  • Isolation from others (20% of males, 21% of females)
  • Feelings of depression (18% of males, 21% of females)

A lack of control group limits interpretation of the study findings, researchers said, but said it appears to show that early intervention “the potential to minimise the impact of mental health problems on young people, their families, and wider society”.

Read: We have qualified psychologists eager to work – so why are waiting lists so long? >

More: ‘Never mind play rugby, some days I couldn’t even get out of my bed’ >

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About the author:

Nicky Ryan

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