Over half of young adults had mental health problems last year
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More than half of Netherlands residents aged 16 to 25 experienced mental health complaints like anxiety and feelings of depression last year, GGD GHOR Nederland reported based on the Coronavirus Health Monitor for Young Adults 2022. This group included many women and young adults in urban areas. Loneliness and suicidal thoughts were common.
According to the umbrella organization for the GGD health services, the monitor - a questionnaire completed by almost 70,000 young adults from April to August 2022 - showed that most cases involved minor complaints. However, half of those with mental health complaints indicated that they had suicidal thoughts at least once in the year prior to the study. These thoughts were most common among women and people living alone.
Nearly two-thirds of the respondents were lonely at the time of the study. A quarter of these young people reported feeling “very lonely.” According to the study, loneliness was most common among practically educated young adults, women, and people living alone. It concerned both emotional loneliness when you don’t have a close bond in your relationships, and social loneliness when you’re missing contact with friends, family, and acquaintances.
“We are concerned about the mental health of young adults. It is good that we know the biggest problems and which groups struggle with them. But the results of this study show that more action is really necessary,” said Ton Coenen, director of GGD GHOR.
A spokesperson for GGD GHOR could not say why women had mental complaints so much more often. “Further in-depth analyzes are being carried out about this.”
Based on this study, the GGDs’ umbrella organization also could not say to what extent the coronavirus period caused the mental health complaint. But according to the body, it “certainly had an impact” because almost two out of three respondents indicated that they needed help or support due to the pandemic because they were “not feeling okay.”
The GGD GHOR noted that people with poorer mental health may have been more likely to participate in the study, so the results may be more negative than is actually the case.
Reporting by ANP