Home > 'Improving health outcomes by understanding the lived experiences of young people in North Dublin’: North Dublin risk and protective factors Planet Youth report 1.

North Dublin Regional Drug & Alcohol Task Force. (2022) 'Improving health outcomes by understanding the lived experiences of young people in North Dublin’: North Dublin risk and protective factors Planet Youth report 1. Dublin: Merlin Press.

PDF (North Dublin risk and protective factors Planet Youth report 1)

This report marks the formal launch of Planet Youth North Dublin after a long period of planning and preparation. It is not a polished action plan nor an outline of strategy. It is however an overview of the first ever baseline data source of health and wellbeing indicators for a large population sample of young people in Fingal. This will be captured every two years and changes (if any) measured. The purpose of this first report is to provide a real-time picture of current risk and protective factors in our youth population. This is an important reference point for agencies and community stakeholders who are interested in improving health outcomes for young people in Fingal. It marks a key milestone in our efforts to provide an evidence base to inform future plans to improve the health and wellbeing of families and young people in the area. 

The data was captured digitally in classroom settings in secondary schools and alternative education settings at the end of 2021. Students who participated were in third, transition or 5th year. There was a battery of over 75 questions specifically designed to capture key health and wellbeing indicators including Covid related impacts. Nearly 3000 completions were analysed (This report captures data extrapolated from 2677 returns after spoiled or incomplete submissions were removed) This represents over 75% of the target population. This means it is a representative sample of the lived experience of the population of young people in the region. Furthermore the data was collected at the end of 2021 and extrapolated in real-time. 

This document presents key findings. While we have provided context where required, the intention is to engage relevant partners in a process to examine the data, extrapolate meanings and develop responses. This will form a prevention strategy to strengthen or "nudge up' the identified protective factors and reduce the identified risk factors. Every two years this process will be repeated to measure changes in outcomes over time. During the planning and consultation phase that follows the formal launch of Planet Youth North Dublin the full data set will be examined and with key partners. Not all of the possible variations have been presented in this report for practical reasons. 

Based on the general data presented later in the report there are some emerging areas of note that will warrant further analysis with relevant stakeholders during the post report phase. It is important to recognise that this report is the foundation of a wider programme. It is intended to provide a robust base line to inform linked responses. No one agency or partner has the expertise or remit to respond to all risk factors and protective factors that are revealed in the data. Therefore, it will be important to provide a consultative process for relevant partners to discuss, evaluate and review the findings in the context of their current and potential role in responding to the evidence. That will be an important and necessary next step. 

There is far more rich data available than was feasible to present in this report. To capitalise on the full potential of the data, the Planet Youth team intend to secure a part time researcher to mine the data and produce targeted reports and analysis focusing on key themes. An encouraging protective factor that has emerged is the sense of protection and caring that most young people reported from their parents. This is an important finding in identifying existing protective factors and building on them. Similarly there were high levels of positivity expressed towards teachers. With home and school life key areas of influence parents and teachers will be important community allies to support improved outcomes. 

Unsurprisingly given the data was gathered in the context of Covid-19, the data for mental health and wellbeing indicators is of concern and warrants further analysis in conjunction with the HSE and other partners. Young peoples mental health was adversely impacted by Covid-19 and this is starkly reflected in most mental health indicators captured in the report. In general it seems that attitudes and perceptions about risk directly impact on consumption levels of harmful substances. Where there is a lower perception of risk or harm there appears to be a correlating increase in consumption levels. This strengthens the need for health promotion initiatives that target parental, youth and community perceptions on harm. There are existing partners and initiatives well placed to progress health promotion and other strategies to respond to this. Youth vaping has emerged as a specific risk behaviour. Whilst there is a robust anti tobacco strategy in place and indeed it is a named priority for Healthy Ireland; vaping seems to require a focus in terms of health promotion and consistent and accurate messaging in relation to harm at community level. 

High levels of use of over-the-counter painkillers were reported. In the second data collection in 2023, the question may need revision to provide more context Social Media, screen time and sleep while not unexpected emerged as issues that require focus Nitrous oxide lifetime use at 6% when cross tabulated with recent use infers that usage is associated with specific social events rather than regular use but may need further attention. Pro social activities and community facilities are linked to protective factors. Availability seems to an issue. The level of substances sourced via the internet is notable as is drug debt intimidation among cannabis users. In any event, it will be important that young people themselves who provided the data that informed these findings are involved throughout the lifetime of this project in the coming years as key collaborators in the development of responses. The Prevention Coordinator has already begun work to establish sustainable structures to facilitate this including the development of a specific Transition Year programme.

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Report
Drug Type
Alcohol, All substances, Cannabis, CNS depressants / Sedatives, CNS stimulants, Cocaine, Inhalents and solvents, Opioid, New psychoactive substance, Prescription/Over the counter, Tobacco / Nicotine
Intervention Type
Screening / Assessment
44 p.
Merlin Press
Corporate Creators
North Dublin Regional Drug & Alcohol Task Force
Place of Publication
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