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(Ireland) Student anxiety "has surged by 270% since 2010"

May 26, 2018, (Ireland) Irish Times: ‘I’m petrified. I can’t eat.’ Ireland’s teenage anxiety problem ...The education system is struggling to cope with an upsurge in the numbers of young people presenting with anxiety and related disorders. The number of third-level students with mental health problems, including anxiety and related disorders, has surged by about 270 per cent since 2010, up from 473 to 1,75…. Many of those who work with young people suspect that what they’re seeing can’t easily be explained away Statistics for young people at primary and second level are more difficult to come by. However, a 2015 national study of more than 6,000 adolescents found one in three had experienced elevated levels of depression and anxiety. These numbers come as little surprise to those involved in supporting young people with mental health problems. “It is the number one, most pressing issue that young people identify themselves,” says Dr Gillian O’Brien, director of clinical governance for Jigsaw, the national youth mental health service. Many experts say there is little doubt that greater awareness and openness about mental health is driving these increases. While it’s difficult to tease apart how much of this apparent spike in anxiety is related to an increase in awareness and diagnosis of the disorder, many of those who work with young people suspect that what they’re seeing can’t easily be explained away. Dr Colman Noctor, a child and adolescent psychotherapist with St Patrick’s mental health services with 20 years’ experience, is alarmed by the increases he is seeing on a daily basis. “In the last five to 10 years, I would say anxiety has become the epidemic of this generation,” he says. “I have never met more anxious children than I do now. I have never met so many anxious parents as well. … Anxiety is the most common mental health disorder among young people and adults in Ireland – though, unlike depression, it is often seen as a less serious issue…. But what’s driving the apparent increase in problematic anxiety? And who is most at risk? Research shows anxiety rates are typically higher among young people who have been abused or who live in homes where there is poverty, substance abuse or where there have been stressful events such as bullying, bereavement or assaults....

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