Friday 30 September 2016

Online bullying greater among teen girls

Published 12/09/2016 | 02:30

One in five 15- to 19-year-olds has experienced cyberbullying and the problem is even greater among girls. Stock Image: GETTY
One in five 15- to 19-year-olds has experienced cyberbullying and the problem is even greater among girls. Stock Image: GETTY

One in five 15 to 19-year-olds has experienced cyberbullying and the problem is even greater among girls.

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And almost two in five teen students are aware of a friend or classmate with mental health issues, according to a new survey. Girls and teenagers from well-off backgrounds are more likely to know someone who is struggling with mental health, the survey found.

The research into the mental health and wellbeing of transition-year, fifth-year and sixth-year students did find high levels of happiness, with 86pc reporting being generally happy. But girls were less likely to be happy than boys, and one in 10 students reported being only occasionally or rarely happy.

The teens expressed a clear demand for more professional help, with well over half saying there was not enough support in schools for students.

The survey covered more than 300 students nationwide, from a range of socio-economic backgrounds.

It was conducted by Amárach Research on behalf of the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD).

While students reported higher levels of happiness and enjoyment compared with the national average, they also reported higher levels of boredom and anger.

Students did recognise the importance of good diet and exercise for positive mental health with 80pc getting the opportunity to take at least 30 minutes exercise per day.

NAPD Director Clive Byrne said that in recent years a strong emphasis had been placed on campaigns to improve the mental health of young people, and the survey results indicated that these were having an impact.

"Teenage and adolescent years can be challenging for all young people but it is encouraging to know that a significant majority of pupils are generally happy, and more importantly they also recognise the need to talk about their problems".

However, he said the survey also pointed to areas of ongoing concern, including the need felt by students for additional mental health supports within schools.

"A majority of students would like to see a dedicated counsellor or psychologist available to students within schools," he said.

Junior Health Minister Helen McEntee said the findings represented an important snapshot into the mental health and wellbeing of students, and it was "vital" that we listen directly to the opinions of those most affected by mental health issues.

Irish Independent

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