Some 31 per cent of young people in Tallaght suffer from depression - report

CDI research shows young people face ‘major gap’ in accessing services

One third of teenagers in Tallaght, west Dublin experience mental health difficulties and face a “major gap” in accessing services, according to new research commissioned by the Childhood Development Initiative (CDI).

One third of teenagers in Tallaght, west Dublin experience mental health difficulties and face a “major gap” in accessing services, according to new research commissioned by the Childhood Development Initiative (CDI).

 

One third of teenagers in Tallaght, west Dublin experience mental health difficulties and face a “major gap” in accessing services, according to new research commissioned by the Childhood Development Initiative (CDI).

The report found among 11,000 young people in the region, up to 33 per cent suffer from anxiety, 31 per cent from depression and 20 per cent from stress. Among these, up to 12 per cent experience severe anxiety, 9 per cent severe depression and 6 per cent severe stress.

The research, which was carried out by Trinity College Dublin, examined the needs of 12- to 18-year-olds living in the Tallaght region.

The study - which is entitled The In-Betweeners: Identifying and quantifying the unmet mental health needs of children and adolescents in Tallaght - also researched the experiences of parents and service providers.

The findings outline a major shortage of services and even after formal diagnosis, many young people were still not able to access services.

The report recommends the development of outreach services including a national network of 24/7 drop-in community mental health facilities, the integration of awareness and counselling services in schools and addressing waiting lists.

‘Dual diagnosis’

Dr Elizabeth McCarthy, co-author of the report and TCD Research Fellow with special interest in child and family well-being, said the study highlights a challenge for services in responding to dual diagnosis.

“Dual diagnosis was an area of particular concern for both service providers and parents, with both expressing surprise and frustration that once there was a dual diagnosis it often resulted in no service at all,” she said.

“One service provider referred to this as a ‘silo’ mentality. Staff roles and services, along with criteria for treatment, need to be urgently addressed in practice rather than in theory, to decide who does what, when, and with whom, whilst maintaining flexibility.”

She said the research also shows emerging issues affecting young people’s mental health includes social media, the internet, homelessness and being from an ethnic minority.

“Parents mentioned technology, social media, and the internet as if they were an object that could not be controlled, rather than boundaries having to be set by them,” Dr McCarthy added. “Service providers frequently referred to gaming as a significant issue leading to anxiety, lack of sleep, tiredness and school refusal.”

Confusion

Marian Quinn, chief executive of the Childhood Development Initiative (CDI) said given “repeated confusion reported by both health professionals and parents” in relation to accessing services that “improved communications, consistency of referral processes, along with drop-in, one-stop shop, 24/7 services are needed”.

She said people in immediate distress need a service ‘on the day’. “A dedicated service could also offer expertise on referral pathways and for emerging challenges such as homelessness,” Ms Quinn added.

The Childhood Development Initiative works to improve outcomes for children, families and communities in Tallaght and throughout the country.