International Youth Day – Mental Health Matters
The UN celebrated International Youth Day (August 12) with a conversation about the important topic of youth and mental health. There are currently 1.2 billion youth (people aged 15-24 years) worldwide; 20% of them experience a mental health condition. The UN half-day special event discussed mental health issues, especially how to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health problems. The event included poetry, films, and artwork from youth worldwide, depicting their mental health journeys. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon spoke, as well as his Special Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi, and Mental Health Youth Advocates Alicia Raimundo and Jordan Burnham. Raimundo and Burnham shared their personal stories, bringing a face to the fight against the stigma of mental illness and the urgency for global change.
On International Youth Day, the UN also released a publication titled Social Inclusion of Youth with Mental Health Conditions, demonstrating a commitment to removing stigma, increasing awareness, and educating on mental health, especially in the post-2015 agenda. This publication can be found at: http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/documents/youth/youth-mental-health.pdf
For more information on this year’s International Youth Day, visit http://undesadspd.org/youth/internationalyouthday/2014.aspx
–Contributed by Victoria Larson