My World Survey | Research and Evaluation | Jigsaw

Understanding youth mental health in Ireland

Understanding youth mental health in Ireland

Understanding youth mental health in Ireland

  • The My World Surveys provide an insight into youth mental health in Ireland
  • Rates of anxiety and depression in young people have increased in recent years
  • Having the support of One Good Adult and talking about problems is important for young people’s mental health
  • Good sleep hygiene and physical activity are related to better mental health.

My World Survey (MWS), consists of two studies published in 2012 (MWS1) and 2019 (MSW2). They provide a valuable insight into youth mental health and wellbeing in Ireland.

The research was developed by UCD School of Psychology and Jigsaw and was led by Prof. Barbara Dooley (UCD). It contains responses from over 14,000 young people in 2012 and more than 19,000 young people in 2019. This research depicts the changing face of youth mental health in Ireland over a seven year period

Mental health status

Unfortunately, the My World research tells us levels of anxiety and depression in young people in Ireland have increased in recent years. More often the case for females.

Young people from seldom heard groups are also particularly vulnerable. These groups included young people attending Youthreach or Colleges of Further Education.

My World Survey 2: Who took part

  • 10,459

    Adolescents from 83 second-level schools randomly selected.

  • 8,290

    Young adults from Irish universities and Institutes of Technology, and who were employed.

  • 658

    Young people from Youthreach, Colleges of Further Education, and young people with a physical disability participated.

Protective factors

Factors that help protect young people’s mental health, such as self-esteem, optimism and resilience, have decreased since 2012. However, on a positive note, levels of bullying are now lower among young people. Also, more adolescents and young adults feel they have support from a family member or One Good Adult®. For adolescents, this is often a parent or extended family member, whereas for young adults it is usually a friend.

The MWS studies give us an opportunity to understand how to support young people’s mental health. They tell us that music and friends are among the top coping strategies used by young people to deal with problems in their lives. Talking about problems is also important, but a large proportion of young people do not do this. MWS also highlights that good sleep hygiene and physical activity are associated with better mental health

MWS highlights that good sleep hygiene and physical activity, are associated with better mental health.

Time spent online

Responses about social media show us that young people are using it to build on and extend their connections in real life. This demonstrates the benefits to spending time online.

However, spending long periods of time online indicates the opposite. More than three hours a day online is associated with higher levels of depression and anxiety and lower levels of body esteem. MWS also highlights that good sleep hygiene and physical activity, are associated with better mental health.

The MWS studies highlight that more needs to be done to address the main issues affecting young people in Ireland.

Together with our partners in the School of Psychology in UCD, Jigsaw will continue to examine the data gathered in this research. Improving our knowledge of youth mental health, this research will help us establish new responses to support young people.

 

Dooley, B., O’Connor, C., Fitzgerald, A., & O’Reilly, A. (2012)

My World Survey 1: The National Study Youth Mental Health in Ireland. Jigsaw and UCD School of Psychology.

Download pdf of full report.

Dooley, B., O’Connor, C., Fitzgerald, A., & O’Reilly, A. (2019)

My World Survey 2: Dooley, B., O’Connor, C., Fitzgerald, A., & O’Reilly, A. (2012). My World Survey 2 : The National Study Youth Mental Health in Ireland. Jigsaw and UCD School of Psychology.

myworldsurvey.ie

Booth, A., Tibbs, M., O’Reilly, A. (2019)

Wicklow Context Evaluation: A profile of young people in Wicklow. Dublin: Jigsaw, The National Centre for Youth Mental Health.

Download pdf of full report.

Doyle, E., Booth, A., O’Reilly, A. (2020)

Tipperary Context Evaluation: A profile of young people in Tipperary. Dublin: Jigsaw, The National Centre for Youth Mental Health.

Download pdf of full report.

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