High rates of depression and anxiety reported in Ireland

Mental health remains ever at the forefront of the conversation, as Ireland continues to report high rates of mental ill-health, particularly among young people.

Bringing mental health to the forefront of the conversation is vitally important, as it is only through openness, conversation and awareness that the old stigmas which have latched onto mental ill-health break down, allowing for more acceptance and finding new ways to deal with and improve on one’s mental wellbeing.

Aware, the national mental health organisation in June announced the findings from its national survey looking at the public’s experience and perception of depression and anxiety.

The online survey was conducted by Amárach Research with a nationally representative sample of 1,200 adults* from  April 28 to May 4 2023.

Public awareness of depression appears to be strong with nearly 4 in 5 (73%) saying they are familiar with the symptoms of depression and two-thirds (66%) confident that they would recognise the symptoms in someone close to them.

Older adults report lower awareness with one-third of those over 55 (34%) ‘not sure’ of the symptoms.

A majority (73%) would address someone close to them if they suspected they were depressed.

Despite this, The survey revealed that depression remains prevalent with 3 in 5 (58%) reporting experience of what they believe is depression, and almost one quarter (24%) stating an official diagnosis, while 1 in 10 respondents under 25 years of age believe they are currently experiencing depression.

Anxiety rates also appear to be high, affecting 3 in 4 adults (74%) with almost half of those (48%) saying they experience anxiety ‘frequently’.

Positive moves were also noted across the survey, as many respondents appeared to be seeking help and ways to improve their mental well-being.

For respondents who experience depression and anxiety, a significant majority of 4 in 5 (74%) have taken action to support their mental health, by visiting their GP (39%), confiding in someone (38%) and making lifestyle changes (34%) at the top of the list.

Those seeking help with their mental health are advised to reach out or confide in someone they trust, be it a friend or their GP.

Help, information and resources are also available via the HSE website, the Mental Health Commission, and via the Your Mental Health information line by free phoning 1800 111 888.

You can also reach out to Pieta House at 1800 247 247 or by texting ‘Help’ to 51444, or the Samaritans by calling 116 123.