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'Let them know you're there for them': Half of people under 35 would conceal mental health issue

Almost a fifth of people would delay seeking help for a mental health issue, due to the perceived stigma around them.

Image: Shutterstock/Wayne0216

ALMOST HALF OF people in Ireland under the age of 35 would conceal that they had a mental health difficulty to friends and family, according to new research released by See Change.

The report comes ahead of See Change’s Green Ribbon campaign, which encourages people to speak up about their mental health.

The group of organisations seeking to undo the stigma surrounding mental health found that people under 35 were most likely to conceal a mental health issue, with 46% of respondents in that age group saying they wouldn’t tell family, friends or colleagues about it.

For those aged 35 and over, just over a third (34%) said they wouldn’t tell friends, family or a colleague if they had a mental health problem.

Overall, 38% of the 977 people surveyed said that they would conceal a mental health issue.

Similarly, people under 35 were most likely to delay seeking help, as they feared other people finding out about their mental health problems. People aged over 65 were the least likely to delay seeking help.

In all, 14% of people in Ireland would delay seeking help due to the attached stigma around mental health.

John Saunders, CEO of See Change, said: “We’re asking people across Ireland to play their part this May by wearing the Green Ribbon and being open to conversation about mental health.

You don’t need to be an expert or have all the answers. Sometimes the most helpful thing you can do is let someone know you are there for them.

Saunders added that creating an environment where people feel like they can speak about their mental health difficulties is essential to helping eliminate the stigma around these issues.

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Between now and the end of May, 500,000 free ribbons will be distributed to homes, workplaces, schools, colleges and communities across the country.

The fifth annual Green Ribbon campaign simply asks people to show their support for “ending the silence” around mental health problems.

There are a range of events happening across the country this month for the Green Ribbon campaign, and you can find out more here.

If you need to talk, contact:

  • Pieta House 1800 247 247 or email (suicide, self-harm)
  • Samaritans 116 123 or email
  • Aware 1800 80 48 48 (depression, anxiety)
  • Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 19)
  • Childline 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18s)

You can find out more about See Change at

Read: ‘I was going to end my life or I was going to get better. That was the choice I had’

Read: ‘Nobody’s ashamed to say they broke their leg, but there’s still a shame linked to mental illness’

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Sean Murray

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