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My World 2, Ireland’s largest and most important study of its kind launched today

November 18th 2019

My World 2, Ireland’s largest and most important study of its kind launched today

There has been a significant increase in levels of anxiety among young people according to My World Survey 2. This survey, conducted by UCD School of Psychology, in collaboration with Jigsaw, is Ireland’s largest and most important study of its kind.

The report, launched today, is a follow up and extension of 2012’s My World Survey 1. It offers a unique insight into the lived realities of over 19,000 young people.

Demand in services 

From Jigsaw’s point of view, some of the numbers around anxiety come as no surprise. Across our network of youth mental services, we are seeing demand surge, with the number one issue being anxiety. Eariler this year we developed and launched JigsawOnline.ie to help meet this need and are continuing to add interactive features to facilitate therapeutic support. 

However, there are some greenshoots in the findings from My World 2. Bullying is down, the presence and availability of One Good Adult is up. There are higher levels of social support from family and friends for adolescents. The number of young adults reporting to be highly stressed by their financial situation has decreased.

Understanding protective factors

Speaking at the launch of the report in Smock Alley, UCD Lead Researcher Professor Barbara Dooley said, “My World Survey 2 is unique in terms of the (i) size of the sample across the age range 12-25 years and (ii) it focuses not only on risk factors associated with mental health distress but takes a more balanced approach by including a wide number of positive factors that can support young peoples’ mental health. By taking a strengths-based approach to understanding protective factors associated with youth mental health, we can identify ways to support our young people and to inform about positive wellbeing. In terms of the rise in anxiety, unfortunately this was not an unexpected finding. We know from our research, linking with international colleagues and working with front line staff, that anxiety internationally is more prevalent now compared to when we conducted My World Survey 1, which was published in 2012.”

Dr Joseph Duffy, CEO of Jigsaw, the National Centre for Youth Mental Health commented, “While the last decade has seen a considerable growth in awareness and conversation about young people’s mental health, what is evident from the data from today’s report, is that more needs to be done to address the main issues affecting our young people. The increased levels of anxiety and depression, the decreased levels of self-esteem, optimism and life-satisfaction and growing trends of self-harm are of particular concern. However, what is clear is that the publication of My World Survey 2 is vitally important. It gives us new insights into, and a better understanding of, young people's mental health and wellbeing. It can be, and must be, instrumental in building and improving our collective knowledge in the area of youth mental health and in establishing new responses. This is opportunity at hand; one we all must grasp.”

This report identifies key trends that shine a light on Ireland’s mental health like never before. It allows us to see the world through the eyes of our young people and identify how best we can offer support.

Visit myworldsurvey.ie to review the findings