Ireland needs to wake up and take action to address the youth mental health crisis facing the country, it was claimed today.
National youth organisation SpunOut.ie said there is an urgent need to invest in the younger generation if the country is to build a sustainable, inclusive and happy society.
Chief executive Manus Hanretty said spiralling unemployment and migration was affecting Ireland's young population.
"There is a lot of talk about young people being our future," he said.
"However, our youth are now suffering massively from the devastating economic turn-down resulting in cut backs in education, youth unemployment rates of 30pc, and up to 1,000 people per week emigrating.
"There is a growing feeling of hopelessness which is leading to increasing levels of alcohol and drug abuse, anti-social behaviour, homelessness, mental health problems and suicide."
It is estimated that one in four people will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives.
SpunOut.ie, which reaches over 50,000 online users a month, will tomorrow mark World Mental Health Day, which aims to raise public awareness about mental health issues.