Anxiety tops concerns for teenagers contacting Jigsaw

Research at mental health service reveals feelings of anger, sadness and loss

Anxiety is the most common concern raised by young people seeking help with mental health issues, a new study indicates.

Low mood, anger, family problems and stress were the other main issues raised by over 10,000 young people attending the Jigsaw mental health service between 2009 and 2015.

The analysis of attendance figures for 2013 shows there are significant differences in the issues of concern between boys and girls and between young people of different ages.

For young women, anxiety, family problems and isolation issues emerged as the main concerns, according to the study published in the Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine.

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Family problems

For boys, the main issues were anxiety, anger and family problems.

Girls are more likely to experience anxiety, thoughts of hurting themselves, low self-esteem and feelings of sadness or loss. Boys were more likely to present with anger and drug use.

Headstrong, the national centre for youth mental health, set up Jigsaw in response to the need for supports for young people.

The service provides free mental health supports for young people aged 15-25 years in 10 communities around the State.

Almost one-third of young people referred themselves to the service, while 27 per cent of referrals came from parents and 12 per cent from a GP.

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen is Health Editor of The Irish Times