Mental Health and Wellbeing during the Transition from Childhood to Young Adulthood

While positive mental health and wellbeing is important for children and young people in its own right, mental ill-health in early life can also have lasting impacts on later-life outcomes. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the prevalence of mental health difficulties was increasing among children and young people in Ireland, and there were long waiting lists for treatment. The pandemic and associated public health restrictions have exacerbated the challenges of protecting the mental health of children and young people.

In this project, we will use data from Growing Up in Ireland, a comprehensive survey of children, young people and their families that has been collecting data since 2007, to answer four key questions:

  1. How does mental health and wellbeing change between childhood and young adulthood, and what factors (e.g., gender) are associated with an improvement or a deterioration in mental health?
  2. What is the relationship between parental depression and the risk of mental ill-health among children and young people?
  3. What are the factors (e.g., health insurance) that are associated with diagnosis and treatment of mental health conditions and use of mental health services?
  4. How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people, and what factors (e.g., peer relationships) have supported or hindered them in navigating the pandemic?

A common theme throughout the research will be the extent to which patterns of mental health and wellbeing reflect existing forms of inequality (e.g., by gender, family background, etc.). The evidence uncovered in this project will be particularly timely in the context of Sharing the Vision, the new national policy for mental health in Ireland, related initiatives such as the increased emphasis on wellbeing in schools, and the renewed international policy focus on mental health in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Award Date
01 July 2022
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Dr Anne Nolan
Host Institution
Economic and Social Research Institute
Investigator Led Projects