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  1. ITV Report

NI young people ‘fear for their emotional health’

New research says 68% of young people in Northern Ireland regularly feel stressed. Credit: PA

New research has found that nearly half of young people in Northern Ireland have experienced a mental health problem.

The study by The Prince Trust reveals that young people fear for their emotional health, with worries about their future, money and generally 'not being good enough'.

44%
of young people in Northern Ireland say they have experienced a mental health problem.

The Prince's Trust Macquarie Youth Index, based on a survey of 2,194 respondents aged 16 to 25, found that the happiness and confidence young people across the UK feel in their emotional health have dropped to the lowest levels since the study was first commissioned in 2009.

68%
of young people in Northern Ireland regularly feel stressed.

When asked to describe how they feel, 60% of young people said they regularly feel anxious and a third go as far as to say they feel hopeless.

The charity has called on the government and employers to promote positive mental well being and support young people into fulfilling, sustainable careers.

"It should ring alarm bells for us all that young people in Northern Ireland and across the UK are feeling more despondent about their emotional health than ever before."

– Nick Stace, UK chief executive at The Prince's Trust.

The report also highlights some of the factors that could be contributing to the sudden decline in relation to emotional health. It shows that a quarter of young people in Northern Ireland think they put too much pressure on themselves to achieve success.

In response to the issues, a group of young people from The Prince's Trust Team programme in Belfast have created a mental health programme to support their peers.

The group of eight young people created The HOPE programme, (Hold on Pain Ends), the first training programme on mental health and suicide awareness/prevention designed by the young people in a way they believe is best suited for their peer group to receive.

The programme, to be run in partnership with PIPs, the suicide prevention charity, is being offered to youth groups, schools and colleges throughout Northern Ireland.

Nick Stace, UK chief executive at The Prince's Trust, said: "It should ring alarm bells for us all that young people in Northern Ireland and across the UK are feeling more despondent about their emotional health than ever before. This is a generation rapidly losing faith in their ability to achieve their goals in life, who are increasingly wary of and disillusioned with the jobs market and at risk of leaving a wealth of untapped potential in their wake.

"One of the most important things we can do to stem this flow is to show young people that it's worth having high aspirations, that opportunities to earn a good living and progress in a career are out there and that they'll be supported along the way to live, learn and earn.

He added: "For this to happen, it is vital that government, charities and employers across the UK invest more in developing young people's skills and in providing opportunities for them to progress in fulfilling, sustainable careers."

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