In autumn 2022, Renew Europe launched a Youth Mental Health Survey to find out more about why young people are increasingly experiencing mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and loneliness.
Global events like the pandemic and the war in Ukraine have exacerbated this trend in recent years, and mental wellbeing of young people should be a priority. However, the necessary EU-wide data on youth mental health issues in Europe is insufficient to address this growing problem effectively.
This is why Renew Europe launched a survey of close to 700 young people from 20 EU Member States about mental health challenges and how Europe can help. The survey focused on young people aged between 18-30 years old.
The survey first asked people a bit about their lives, including age, employment situation and gender. Then, respondents were asked about their mental health. It was clear from the results that mental health was an important theme for respondents and many reported dealing with mental health issues. Close to 60% of all respondents classified their mental health as 'not great' or 'poor'.
The survey also asked people if they felt they could have accomplished more in life, had they not suffered from mental health issues. Over 70% of respondents answered 'yes' to this question. Moreover, accessibility of mental health services was an issue for many respondents, and most respondents indicated that mental health services in their country are not very accessible.
According to the survey, the main barriers to the right care are:
- Long waiting lists
- The cost of care
- Fear of being stigmatised
Previous studies have indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic had a major impact on the mental health of young people in Europe, and the Renew Europe survey data confirms this. A majority of respondents also answered that the war in Ukraine had an impact on their mental health. Unsurprisingly, social media was considered an important factor in the worsening of mental health issues, but interestingly, respondents also indicated a role for social media in helping young people connect and find support.
Respondents wanted to see more investment in:
- Affordable care
- Prevention in the workplace