Two-thirds of people living in Tallaght are reporting mental health issues according to a new study.

The report entitled Physical and Mental Health in Post-Recession Ireland: A Community Study from Tallaght, Dublin was commissioned by the Meath Foundation and presented at the annual Meath Research Symposium at Tallaght University Hospital last week.

Researchers surveyed more than 350 homes across Tallaght and found carer burden to be the single largest factor impacting on wellbeing in the area.

Despite improved employment levels generally, 66% of people in deprived areas experienced stress over the last 12 months compared to just over 55% in less deprived areas.

It also found that people with less stress were more likely to own private health insurance, be better educated and were less likely to be living with a person with a chronic illness or disability.

Tallaght Hospital Consultant Psychiatrist Prof Brendan Kelly, who was one of the report authors, said despite several years of economic recovery, its benefits have yet to be felt in deprived areas of Tallaght.

“The economic recovery has done little to improve mental health here and this is taking its toll on those in greatest need,” he said.

“It impacts two thirds of the population living in the deprived communities of Tallaght where people have less education, don’t own health insurance and are more likely to be living with the burden of a person with a chronic illness or disability.

“There is a clear case for strengthening community and hospital mental health services and for other social care interventions to address the very real challenges these most vulnerable communities endure in their everyday lives.”

The report also found increased levels of public satisfaction with the services at Tallaght University Hospital, but lack of mental health services is leading to increasing levels of stress and psychological ill health particularly in deprived areas.

In conclusion, the report authors found “a compelling need for universal access to high quality mental health services in primary care (GP) and secondary care (hospital and specialist clinics) in all communities”.