Wednesday, August 13, 2014

United Nations Secretary- General’s message for International Youth Day (12 August 2014)

A new publication from the United
Nations shows that 20 per cent of the
world's young people experience a
mental health condition each year. The
risks are especially great as they
transition from childhood to adulthood. Stigma and shame often compound the
problem, preventing them from seeking
the support they need. For this year's
observance of International Youth Day,
the United Nations wants to help lift the
veil that keeps young people locked in a chamber of isolation and silence. The barriers can be overwhelming,
particularly in countries where the issue
of mental health is ignored and there is a
lack of investment in mental health
services. Too often, owing to neglect and
irrational fear, persons with mental health conditions are marginalized not only from
having a role in the design and
implementation of development policies
and programmes but even from basic
care. This leaves them more vulnerable to
poverty, violence and social exclusion, and has a negative impact on society as a
whole. Young people who are already
considered vulnerable, such as homeless
youth, those involved in the juvenile
justice system, orphaned youth and those
having experienced conflict situations,
are often more susceptible to stigma and other barriers, leaving them even more
adrift when they are most in need of
support. Let us remember that with
understanding and assistance, these
young people can flourish, making
valuable contributions to our collective future. We have just about 500 days to reach the
Millennium Development Goals. We must
support all young people, especially
those who are vulnerable, to succeed in
this historic campaign. Wide-ranging efforts at all levels are
needed to raise awareness about the
importance of investing in and
supporting young people with mental
health conditions. Increased education is
crucial in reducing stigma and in changing how we talk about and
perceive mental health. Mental health is how we feel; it is our
emotions and well-being. We all need to
take care of our mental health so that we
lead satisfying lives. Let us begin to talk
about our mental-health in the same way
we talk about our overall health. As we mark International Youth Day
2014, let us enable youth with mental
health conditions to realize their full
potential, and let us show that mental
health matters to us all.
Source: UN website

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