Saturday 24 March 2018

Young adults consumed with anxiety over finances


IRELAND'S young adults are now consumed with worry over money and debt, a new survey commissioned by the Samaritans has found.

The charity, which offers emotional support to people in distress, found that 54 per cent of young people aged between 18 and 24 years say financial problems are their biggest worry. It shows that the recession and joblessness has caused deep anxiety and fears about the future.

The study, one of the most extensive carried out in recent years on sources of anxiety, surveyed 1,002 Irish respondents. For 18- to 24-year-olds, the top five sources of anxiety were money and debt (reported by 54 per cent of people), pressure to achieve high marks and exam stress (52 per cent), problems in relationships with family and friends (41 per cent), physical health issues (24 per cent) and not being in a relationship or lack of sex life (23 per cent).

According to the Financial Regulator, more than 28,000 homeowners have not been able to repay their mortgage for more than three months. Another 30,000 have been forced to renegotiate their mortgages. In all, 230,000 people have been made unemployed in the past two years, many of them young people including graduates who have been made redundant from their first job.

The survey also noted the high number of young people anxious about exams. As tens of thousands of youngsters prepare for their Leaving Certificate examinations, Dr Mike Shooter, a youth mental health expert with the charity, offered a number of tips on how to survive the exam period.

"Exams can bring with them a whirlwind of emotions: panic, anxiety, fear of failure and fear about the future -- getting into university or finding a job following the recession," he said. He advised students to plan their revision timetable well in advance, with a comfortable amount of work per day.

"Leaving everything to the last minute will just increase your stress," he said.

Other tips include taking regular breaks for doing things entirely outside your work. "Having time off to socialise with friends and family or just enjoying life by yourself will actually improve your performance when you are working," Dr Shooter said.

"Although exams are important, remember they are not your only chance at success in life," he says.

Samaritans' director of Ireland, Suzanne Costello, said: "It is natural to feel anxious around this time. If you feel alone and are struggling to manage your stress during the exam period, talking about your feelings can help. "Not only does talking offer emotional relief but it can also help you to gain perspective and clarity before your emotions spiral out of control and become unmanageable. If you feel there is no one you can talk to this is where Samaritans can help; we are there to offer you confidential emotional support 24/7, so please do get in touch at any time."

Sunday Independent

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