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Monday, 10 April, 2000, 12:05 GMT 13:05 UK
Suicidal thoughts plague young people
Depression
Depression figures 'under-estimated'
Suicide is contemplated or attempted by one in eight youngsters, a survey suggests.

The research from charity the Depression Alliance suggests official figures on depression among young people are too low.



Only through tackling the stigma and misunderstanding surrounding the condition can we offer hope to the thousands of young people suffering from depression

Antony Tiernan, Depression Alliance
The lives of almost half of 15 to 34-year-olds are touched by suicide, the survey says - 45% surveyed said they knew of someone their age who had contemplated, attempted or committed suicide.

The poll, published to mark the start of National Depression Week, found that a third of people in the UK said money worries caused them major stress.

Job problems were a huge cause of worry for a quarter of people and 10% said family and friends caused them the greatest amount of stress.

Previous studies have predicted that one in four people will suffer from depression at some point in their lives, but the charity said the survey showed many more young people may be at risk.

Suicide accounts for a fifth of all deaths in the 15-34 age group, with two young people killing themselves every day.

'Devastating'

Antony Tiernan, campaigns manager for the Depression Alliance, said: "The results of our survey are devastating.

"Not only do the results bring into doubt the official figures used to determine the number of people affected by depression, they also highlight the number of young people whose lives are being darkened by suicide.

"Only through tackling the stigma and misunderstanding surrounding the condition can we offer hope to the thousands of young people suffering from depression."

The survey also found that there are still misconceptions about depression and its treatment.

A quarter of the 1,000 people questioned thought depression was a sign of "mental weakness" that sufferers should "snap out of it".

Campaigners said negative attitudes about depression are stopping many people from turning to family and friends when they have problems.

Only one in 10 people said they would talk to their parents or go to their GP for help.

A survey for the Mental Health Foundation carried out last year suggested up to 20% of children have some form of metal health problem, while 10% need some professional help.

The pressures put on them as part of modern life and substance abuse were two of the causes for depression among young people, the MHF said.

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See also:

06 Nov 98 | Health
Suicide linked to unemployment
29 Jul 99 | Health
Male suicide tops death league
31 Jul 99 | Health
Suicide risk assessed
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