Their generation - new youth lifestyle survey unveiled

Nearly one in three young people have concerns about their mental health - but most did not seek help from anyone, a new survey has revealed.

Wednesday, 14th June 2017, 2:16 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th June 2017, 2:39 pm

The ‘Young Persons Behaviour & Attitudes Survey (YPBAS)’ is a school based survey carried out among 11-16 year olds right acorss Northern Ireland

Key findings from the survey revealed that the majority of young people (84%) described their health as being good or very good, with no difference found between boys and girls.

Around a third reported having had concerns or worries about their mental health (40% of girls and 31% of boys). Of those that had such concerns, three-fifths did not seek help from anyone.

Contrary to popular perception, the survey indicates that since 2000 there has been a steady decline in smoking, drinking and drug use. In 2016, 4% of young people were current smokers, with no difference noted between boys and girls.

A third of young people (32%) had never taken an alcoholic drink; a decrease from 59% in 2000;

And the majority (84%) of respondents indicated they had never been offered drugs or solvents; a small proportion (2%) reported having used drugs or solvents in the last month.

Under a fifth (17%) reported eating the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day though this is an increase from the 15% first recorded in 2007;

Around one in eight young people reported doing the recommended 60 minutes of moderate physical activity during every day of the last week; boys (17%) were twice as likely as girls (8%) to attain this.

Around three in five young people had taken an antibiotic in the last twelve months. Just under half (47%) thought that antibiotics work on colds and flu, and 37% thought it was ok to stop taking an antibiotic when you feel better.