More than one-in-four young people has felt suicidal in the past, a new survey reveals.
And one in five said they had self-harmed, the report into adolescent mental health showed.
Although emotional distress is felt by both sexes, girls have battled psychological stress more than boys with nearly one in three admitting to feeling suicidal at some stage.
The results were described yesterday as "disturbing and heartbreaking" by Melanie Verwoerd, chief executive of Unicef Ireland, which carried out the survey.
Ms Verwoerd, who will launch the report entitled 'Change the Future: Experiencing Youth in Contemporary Ireland' in Dublin today, said the pain that many 16- to 20-year-olds experienced was evident not just in the statistics, "but also in the comments made by many brave young people who took part in the survey".
The online study revealed:
•Half of young people surveyed reported that they had suffered from depression.
•More than one in 10 said they suffered from anorexia/ bulimia.
More girls struggled with mental health problems, with 32pc saying they had felt suicidal compared to 24pc of boys.
They are also hit in higher numbers by depression, with 59pc suffering the condition compared to 49pc of boys.
And they are also more likely to self-harm -- 27pc of girls admit to this compared to 16pc of boys.
Significantly more girls suffer from eating disorders -- nearly one-in-four girls (23pc) had anorexia or bulimia compared to 2pc of boys.
Some of the young people are fighting a series of problems including depression, feeling suicidal and eating disorders.
Significantly, there is a clear link between bullying and the young people reporting serious emotional distress.
The young people with on-going mental health issues rises until the age of 19 and then there is a noticeable fall at the age of 20.
The report notes that many of these teens are not receiving any treatment. Just 18pc of those who reported ongoing troubles said they were receiving help.
Only 14pc of young people in Ireland specifically reported that they had not felt or suffered from any of these mental health problems in the past.