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Dublin: 12 °C Thursday 15 November, 2018
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15,000 people to take part in largest ever study of youth mental health

The research will help influence youth mental health policy and practice in Ireland.

Professor Barbara Dooley, Lead Researcher at UCD; Jerry O'Sullivan, Deputy CEO ESB; Katie Cullen, member of Jigsaw's (Youth Advisory Panel) YAP Galway; Neil Mac Dhonnagain, member of Jigsaw's YAP Dublin city and Dr Joseph Duffy, CEO Jigsaw, at the launch today.
Professor Barbara Dooley, Lead Researcher at UCD; Jerry O'Sullivan, Deputy CEO ESB; Katie Cullen, member of Jigsaw's (Youth Advisory Panel) YAP Galway; Neil Mac Dhonnagain, member of Jigsaw's YAP Dublin city and Dr Joseph Duffy, CEO Jigsaw, at the launch today.
Image: Maxwell Photography

MORE THAN 15,000 young people are expected to take part in the largest ever study of Ireland’s youth mental health.

My World Survey 2 will consult with people aged 12-25, and schools and educational institutions have been encouraged to get involved.

The survey was launched by UCD in partnership with Jigsaw, the National Centre for Youth Mental Health, today. 2012′s My World Survey 1 remains the most significant study of its kind in Ireland to date.

Of the almost 14,500 people interviewed six years ago, one in three reported feelings of depression and anxiety, 21% of young adults said they had engaged in deliberate self-harm in the past year, and strong links were found between excessive drinking and suicidal behaviour.

Speaking at the launch today, UCD Lead Researcher Professor Barbara Dooley said repeat surveys “offer a distinct advantage over single cross-sectional surveys as they enable us to capture net effect changes”.

Dooley said such changes might be expressed as an “overall increase or decrease in behaviours such as the number of young people who report an intention to seek help for mental health problems they are experiencing”.

“By repeating this research at a different time and asking similar questions, it enables us to collect information that can easily be compared.

“In this way, the findings from both waves of My World Survey can be used to inform and influence youth mental policy and practice in Ireland,” she stated. 

Seminal

Jigsaw CEO Dr Joseph Duffy said the research will be “a seminal piece of work”. Findings from the survey will form the foundation of programme development for Jigsaw’s prevention and early intervention approach and be used to influence youth mental health policy and practice in Ireland.

Unlike other large-scale surveys which often ask a more focused group of people (eg under 18s or over 18s) questions around one or two risks or protective factors, such as suicide or self-care, My World Survey 2 will consult a very wide age range (12–25) on a huge breadth of risks and protective factors.

Minister for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor encouraged participation in the survey, particularly among third level institutions. She said the research will be “instrumental in building and improving our collective knowledge of the mental health of our students”.

My World Survey 2 is a 15-month research project, with data collection taking place between October 2018 and May 2019. The final results will be published in December 2019. To learn more or enquire about registration, you can contact myworldsurvey2@ucd.ie.

Need help? Support is available:

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

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About the author:

Órla Ryan

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