Friday, March 2, 2018

Irish Youth Mental Health Survey Summary

My World Survey (MWS), is a study on the mental health of young people in Ireland. It was conducted under the auspices of UCD, by Barbara Dooley and Headstrong, under the leadership of Tony Bates.

It was carried out over 5 years between the years 2008 – 2012. Its purpose was to develop a national baseline of youth mental health in Ireland. It was the first national study of Youth Mental Health in Ireland from the ages of 12 – 25. Internationally, 75% of serious mental health issued first emerge between the ages of 15 – 25 (Hickie, 2004, Kessler et al, 2005; Kim – Cohen et al, 2003).

Adolescent mental health according to the World Health Organisation (2007) is defined as:
The capacity to achieve and maintain optimal psychological functioning and well – being. It is directly related to the level reached and competence achieved in psychological and social functioning”.

MWS adopted an ecological risk / protective framework to identify selected risks and protective factors for adolescent mental health across all domains important to a young person’s development.
Risk factors refer to circumstances, characteristics or hazards that may increase the possibility of a person developing a mental health difficulty or disorder.
Protective factors are a broad range of assets that may improve the likelihood that a person will respond successfully to hazards. These include characteristics such as talents, strengths and constructive interests as well as characteristics in their social environment such as family support, parental involvement supportive relationships with adults in their lives, opportunities to express themselves through creative activities and opportunities to participate in making decisions are that affect their lives (Bates, Illback, Scanlan & Carroll, 2009).
This ecological risk / protective factor model has become increasingly popular as a framework through which to investigate risk and protective factors related to adolescent mental health (e.g. Costells, Swendsen, Rose & Dierker, 2008).

My World Survey, collected data from 72 schools and from 14, 500 young people. It identified protective and risk factors for young people that can be classified under the following headings: psychological, social, friends, school and community.

Protective Factors
Risk factors

Substance Abuse
·       Self-esteem,
·       Copes well with problems
·       High level of support - focused coping
·       High level of problem solving.
·       Stress
·       Anxiety
·       Depression
·       Angry a lot
·       High level of avoidant coping.
·       Learning disorders / difficulties
·       Financial stress.
·       Low socioeconomic status.
·       Family status / structure
·       Parental criticism
·       Death of a family member.
·       Enjoys family life.
·       Parental approval

·       Friend support
·       Peer connectedness
·       Satisfaction with friends / romantic partner.
·       Friend
·       School connectedness
·       Teacher connectedness.
·       Bullying.
·       Academic failure.

·       Neighbour safety, support from significant others.
·       Trouble with the GardaĆ­
·       Discrimination / Racism.

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