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Two-thirds of students would hide mental health problems - survey

There is still a significant stigma around mental health issues in Ireland, according to new research.

Image: David Cheskin/PA Wire/Press Association Images

MOST STUDENTS WOULD not tell anyone if they were experiencing mental health problems, according to a survey which aims to highlight the continuing stigma around psychological issues.

Some 69 per cent of third-level students said that if they were going through mental health difficulties, they would not want anybody else to know. However, a majority of the people surveyed were themselves open to and understanding of mental health issues, according to the survey carried out by stigma reduction group See Change.

The survey comes as the group launch First Fortnight, a nationwide tour of college campuses featuring concerts and film screenings. The scheme aims to highlight the fact that prejudice or discrimination around mental health can do more lasting damage than some mental health issues themselves.

One in four Irish people will experience a mental health problem at some point in life.

Responding to the figures, Scott Ahearn, welfare officer with the Union of Students in Ireland, said: “The fact such a significant portion of students would feel ashamed or scared to share their anxieties and difficulties around their mental health is worrying.

“This mental health week, our goal with this programme of on-campus First Fortnight events is to challenge this stigma and facilitate open and honest discussion of mental health.”

Read more: Violence in adults could be determined in first three years of life – or even in the womb>

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Michael Freeman

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