Sleeping problems and mental health issues increasing among young people

© ANP / Patricia Rehe
In 2022, 22 percent of Dutch 12 to 24-year-olds said they had trouble sleeping. Sixteen percent of young people reported being mentally unhealthy over the past four weeks and 12 percent said they were or had been suffering from depression over the past twelve months. Relative to 2017, there is a percentage increase of young people having sleeping problems, mental health issues and depression. This is reported by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) on the basis of new figures of the Annual Report Youth Monitor released today.
In 2022, 22 percent of young people aged 12 to 24 said they had sleeping problems in the past two weeks. This was 14 percent in 2017. The share of young people who were affected by sleeping problems in the past two weeks was twice as high in 2022 as in 2017. The share of young people reporting mental health issues in the past four weeks in 2022 was twice as high as in 2017 as well. According to the Health Survey, being mentally unhealthy means that a person has a total score of less than 60 on the Mental Health Inventory 5. In 2022, 12 percent of 12 to 24-year-olds said they had suffered from a depression in the past year. In 2017, this share was 5 percent.

Mental health aspects among 12 to 24-year-olds
klacht2022 (%)2021 (%)2020 (%)2019 (%)2018 (%)2017 (%)
Sleeping problems22.319.418.114.414.014.2
Affected by sleeping problems10.
Mental health issues (MHI-5)
Contact psychologist/

Although twice as many young people said they were having mental health issues, a depression or sleeping problems, the share of young people who had contact with a mental health provider rose less sharply: from 11 percent in 2017 to 14 percent in 2022.

1 in 4 young adults has sleeping problems

Among 12 to 17-year-olds, a total of 20 percent of girls and 14 percent of boys had sleeping problems in 2022, while ten percent of the girls in this age group said that sleep deprivation had a considerable, high or very high impact on their mental health, relative to 5 percent of boys. Over 1 in 4 young adults (26 percent) aged 18 to 24 reported having sleeping problems and 13 percent said they were affected by this. There were no statistically significant differences in this respect between men and women.

Sleeping problems and affected by sleep deprivation, 2022
geslachtklacht12 to 17 yrs (%)18 to 24 yrs (%)Total (%)
TotalAffected by
sleep deprivation
FemaleAffected by
sleep deprivation
MaleAffected by
sleep deprivation

More mental health complaints in women than in men

In 2022, the share of young adults aged 18 to 24 with mental health issues was higher than that of those aged 12 to 17 (20 and 11 percent, respectively). In the latter age group, 15 percent had suffered from mental health problems in the past four weeks, relative to 8 percent of boys. Among 18 to 24-year-olds, twice as many women as men reported this: 27 versus 13 percent in 2022.

Mentally unhealthy (MHI-5 < 60), 2022
geslacht12 to 17 yrs (%)18 to 24 yrs (%)Total (%)

17 percent of young adults reported depression

In 2022, 6 percent of 12 to 17-year-olds answered ‘yes’ to the question: Did you suffer from depression in the past twelve months? There was no statistical difference between boys and girls. Seventeen percent of 18 to 24-year-olds answered ‘yes’ to this question. There was no statistical difference between men and women either.

Self-reported depression, 2022
geslacht12 to 17 yrs (%)18 to 24 yrs (%)Total (%)

Women more likely to seek assistance than men

In 2022, twice as many girls (14 percent) as boys (7 percent) aged 12 to 17 said they had had contact with a psychologist, psychiatrist or psychotherapist in the past 12 months.
In the group aged 18 to 24, the share seeking help stood at 21 percent in women and 14 percent in men.