Mental Health In Ireland


An issue I am going to discuss that is currently in the news at the moment that is a relevant issue to social care practice is Youth mental health in Ireland. I am going to discuss how it affects the youth in modern day Ireland and what influences poor mental health in young people.

Why is this issue happening?

Main Body

Mental health is becoming a major problem in today’s society. It is just as significant as physical health.

Without mental health we would not be able to socialise with people or deal with the outside world or go out and live a ”normal life”.

According to a study that was done by The CES “It helps us to become involved in our environment. Good mental health also helps us to build relationships with people around us. Having good mental health helps children and young people to reach live an active and fulfilling life” (CES 2018 P.14)

In Ireland today, mental health is a massive problem in society.

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Mental health is very important as it influences how we act on daily basis and how we deal with our emotions (Cullen 2018)

By country, the estimated prevalence of mental health disorders is highest in Finland, the Netherlands, France and Ireland (with rates of 18.5% or more of the population with least one disorder), and lowest in Romania, Bulgaria and Poland (with rates of less than 15% of the population (OECD, 2019)

Mental health is a huge issue that is getting drastically out of hand. It is affecting people younger and younger each day.

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Young Irish women were found to be suffering from the highest levels of depression in Europe. The report stated that “17 per cent of Irish women aged 15-24 are at risk of developing symptoms associated with depression, nearly twice the number of young Irish men who are at risk” (O’Connor 2019)

This problem is drastically getting worse over time. There are very little services and waiting lists are extremely long. ‘since March of this year there was 2,691 children and young adults waiting for the HSE to give them an appointment, including 386 who are waiting 12 months or more.”

CITATION Pat19 l 6153 (McGarry, 2019)

The main reason for the high suicide rate in Ireland is believed to be the pressures of life. People feel as if they need to live a perfect life in order to survive. They feel they need to compare themselves to others in society. If you are not dressing like your peers or keeping up with latest trends you become isolated from your friends. This can lead to bullying of young people.

“Around half of teenagers have experienced cyber bullying, with up to 25% experiencing it regularly. This victimisation is directly related to lower self-esteem and an increase in suicidal thoughts in young people”. Spectrum mental Health (2018a)

“There is this pressure to be the perfect woman and increased use of social media is compounding all that,” Spectrum mental Health (2018b)

Findings from an article on Irish times from prof James O’Higgins Norman, director of Dublin City University’s National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre, said: ”Many international studies including in Ireland have also found similar results showing a connection between cyberbullying and depression.” (The Irish Times 2019)

As a result of this, people are getting depressed and suffer from anxiety.

When individuals feel like they need to look a certain way or be the perfect person and not act like a ”weirdo” they can feel under pressure to look more glamourous than others. Young people in particular feel they have to keep up with the latest trends in fashion, music etc to be popular and have a lot of friends to feel included.

This contributes to why so many young people from the ages 15 to 26 are struggling with their mental health. Social media also is a contribution to the way people think they need to look. According to the guardian ”Ideals of physical perfection were also said to be driven by celebrity culture, with 58% of 11 to 16-year-olds identifying it as the main influence.” (Parveen, 2019)

“Suicide can occur across all the social classes. In the cases of young people, there can be social perfectionism, fuelled by media, and exam pressures and other factors will influence those groups. Middle class suicides will happen in those groups as well,” CITATION OKe18 l 6153 (O’Keeffe, 2018)


Beds versus admissions (mental health commission annual report 2017)

I am going to discuss the theory of Durkheim believed that sociology must study social facts (Giddens, A Duneier, M Appelbaum, R 2007:14)

”Durkheim saw sociology as a new science that could be used to elucidate traditional philosophical questions that by examining them in an empirical manner” (Giddens 2009, p14)

He believed that suicide happened when people were isolated by other individuals in their own environment

Structural Functionalism theory is the theory of how the world functions the way it does and how people interact with other people in the world

Durkheim talks about four different categories of suicide

1.Egoistic suicide

2. Anomic Sucide

3.Alturistic Suicide


The main one I will focus on is Egoistic suicide.

Egoistic suicide is marked by the low integration in society and occurs when a person is isolated from society. (Giddens 2009 P17)

When a person is isolated from their peers they seem to think that they are not wanted by anybody and feel like they are being excluded from their social circle.

They then express a feeling of Anomie. Anomie is defined as “A feeling of severe anxiety and dread resulting from the experience of lack of effective social norms, often produced during periods of rapid social change.” (Giddens and Sutton 2017)

Durkheim also states that “people who are strongly integrated to their peers and who’s desires and aspirations were regulated were less likely to commit suicide”. (Giddens and Sutton 2013 P.14)


  1. Cullen, P (2018) Ireland has one of the highest rates of mental health illness in Europe, report finds The Irish Times Available at 18 october 2019].
  2. Foy S (2019) Social media-linked depression more common in teenage girls, the Irish times , January 2019, available :
  3. McGarry, P., (2019.) Irish Times. [Online] P., Corcoran, M.P. and Conway, B. (2012) Sociology of Ireland, 4th ed. Dublin: Gill and MacMillan
  4. O’Connor, A (2019) Why are so many young Irish women depressed? 13TH July 2019,
  5. Available: N. (2019). Social media and celebrity culture ‘harming young people’. [online] the Guardian. Available at: [Accessed 21 Oct. 2019].
  6. Pollak, S (2019) Young Irish women suffer highest levels of depression in Europe, The Irish Times,
  7. health commission annual report (2017) A. and Sutton, P. (2017). Essential Concepts in sociology. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Polity Press, p.172.
  8. Giddens, A. and Sutton, P. (2013). sociology. 7nd ed. Cambridge: Polity Press, p.14.
  9. Giddens, A. (2009), Sociology, 6th ed, revised by P.W Sutton, Cambridge: Polity Press, p.25
  10. Spectrum mental Health (2018) Effects of social media on mental health [online], APRIL 24, 2018 available: [accessed 24/10/2019].
  11. Centre for effective services (2018) Youth Mental Health in Ireland and Northern Ireland: An AcCESs Evidence Report, Dublin: The Centre for Effective Services.

Cite this page

Mental Health In Ireland. (2019, Dec 19). Retrieved from

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