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Chronic depression: Young people in Ireland worst affected compared to European counterparts

Data for 2014 shows that 4% of Europeans aged 15-24 were chronically depressed.

Image: Shutterstock/ESB Professional

OVER 10% OF young people in Ireland are chronically depressed, according to a new study from Eurofound. 

Data for 2014 shows that 4% of Europeans aged 15-24 were chronically depressed. 

The highest rates were in Ireland (12%), followed by Finland (11%), Sweden (10%) and Germany (9%). 

Meanwhile, data from 2016 shows that 14% of Europeans aged 18-24 were at risk of depression. 

Young people in Sweden were most at risk, followed by those in Estonia, Malta, the Netherlands and the UK. 

Gender is an important factor in depression, the report noted, with data showing that in the majority of Member States young women aged 15–24 were more likely to suffer from depression than young men. 

The greatest gender gaps were in Denmark, Germany, Ireland and Sweden. Only in Cyprus, Greece and Lithuania were there higher percentages of young men with depressive symptoms.

There are also indicators that young women are more likely to handle upsetting events internally – a factor linked to depression, according to the report. These include higher rates of self-harm and eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia among this group compared to young men.

Socioeconomic status has a strong impact on whether young people are at risk of depression, the report noted. Those living in households in the lowest income quartile are more likely to be at risk.

The report also noted that the incidence of both bullying and cyberbullying are on the rise in several countries, with the highest prevalence in the Baltic states and the French-speaking community in Belgium.

If you need to talk, contact for free:

  • Pieta House 1800 247247 or email mary@pieta.ie – (available 24/7)
  • Samaritans 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org (available 24/7)
  • Aware 1800 804848 (depression, anxiety)
  • Childline 1800 666666 (for under 18s, available 24/7)

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