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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Dept of Health survey highlights mental health and wellbeing of young people in NI

Young people on street

The Department of Health recently published the “Young Persons Behaviour and Attitudes Survey 2022: Mental Health and Wellbeing” bulletin.


The Young Persons Behaviour and Attitudes Survey (YPBAS) is a school based survey carried out among 11-16 year olds (school years 8 to 12). It is commissioned jointly by a number of government departments and includes questions on a wide range of topics.


Eight rounds of the survey have now taken place: 2000, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019 and 2022.


This publication presents an overview of the mental health and wellbeing modules from the 2022 survey.



Key findings include:


• Half of respondents (51%) reported hardly ever or never feeling lonely; 41% reported feeling lonely occasionally or some of the time, whilst 7% reported feeling lonely often or always.


Pictograph showing results of Young Persons Behaviour and Attitudes Survey 2022: Mental Health and Wellbeing for Young people in Northern Ireland.


• Girls were more likely than boys to report feeling left out, alone, and having no-one to talk to.


Pictograph showing results of Young Persons Behaviour and Attitudes Survey 2022: Mental Health and Wellbeing for Young people in Northern Ireland.

• When asked whether they ever had concerns or worries about their mental health, 19% of respondents indicated they definitely have had concerns and a further 32% indicated to some extent.


The corresponding findings from the previous survey in 2019 were 15% and 27%.


Pictograph showing results of Young Persons Behaviour and Attitudes Survey 2022: Mental Health and Wellbeing for Young people in Northern Ireland.


• Around two-thirds (65%) of those who had concerns did not seek help; the most common reason given for not seeking help was that they felt they could handle things on their own.


• On the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale, girls had a lower mean wellbeing score than boys.


Pictograph showing results of Young Persons Behaviour and Attitudes Survey 2022: Mental Health and Wellbeing for Young people in Northern Ireland.

• The majority of respondents (96%) had friends/family that did things to make them happy, that made them feel loved and that would see that they were taken care of.


Similarly high proportions were found for the other social support questions relating to having people to rely on and having people who provide support and encouragement.


Pictograph showing results of Young Persons Behaviour and Attitudes Survey 2022: Mental Health and Wellbeing for Young people in Northern Ireland.


• The majority of respondents (98%) used at least one social media site and of those who did so, 89% reported using it daily or on most days. 


Pictograph showing results of Young Persons Behaviour and Attitudes Survey 2022: Mental Health and Wellbeing for Young people in Northern Ireland.

• The proportion of girls (57%) that compare themselves to others on social media was three times that for boys (19%).


• A higher proportion of girls than boys monitor the number of likes/comments/shares their posts get and feel that their mood is impacted by this.


Pictograph showing results of Young Persons Behaviour and Attitudes Survey 2022: Mental Health and Wellbeing for Young people in Northern Ireland.


The full survey results publication is available online at: 




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