Text Size:
Updated On: Monday, 17 June 2019

Start nurturing your mental health ‘at an early age’ urges UN chief

Content by: UN News Centre

Join @DrTedros and @ladygaga in a global effort to change how the world addresses #mentalhealth.
Read more about what they stand for: https://t.co/XGDevQT5B8 via @guardianpic.twitter.com/aYU4XHFbPU

— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) October 9, 2018

“Poor mental health during adolescence has an impact on educational achievement and increases the risk of alcohol and substance use and violent behavior,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres, in a statement, stressing that many children and teenagers caught up in conflicts and disasters worldwide, are particularly at risk of psychological distress.

According to WHO, half of all mental illnesses begin by the age of 14, but most cases go undetected and untreated. Depression is one of the leading causes of illness and disability among adolescents and suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15 to 29 year-olds.

The harmful use of alcohol and illicit drugs among adolescents is a major issue in many countries and can lead to self-destructive behaviour such as unsafe sex or dangerous driving. Eating disorders are also of concern.

“A great deal of mental health conditions are both preventable and treatable, especially if we start looking after our mental health at an early age,” said Mr. Guterres.

Referring to the commitments of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, he regretted that, while Member States agreed collectively to “leave no one behind”, “those struggling with mental health problems are still being marginalized”. 

WHO notes that “evidence is growing that promoting and protecting adolescent mental health benefits not just adolescents’ health, in the short- and the long-term, but also economies and society as whole, with healthy young adults able to make greater contributions to the workforce, their families and communities”.

If we change our attitude to mental health, we change the world. - UN chief  António Guterres

Among the various actions that Governments can take, WHO recommends investing in: greater integration of mental health into broader health and social care systems, under the umbrella of universal health coverage; mental health resilience-building through parents and teachers; and psycho-social provision in schools and community spaces, especially in hardship contexts such as conflict and natural disaster settings.

“The United Nations is committed to creating a world where by 2030 everyone, everywhere has someone to turn to in support of their mental health, in a world free of stigma and discrimination,” said the UN chief.

“If we change our attitude to mental health – we change the world.  It is time to act on mental health.”

 

Trending Now

Regional & Global Development News

Trump, Mexico's Lopez Obrador Tout Migrant Accord

Content by: Voice of America WASHINGTON — U.S. President Donald Trump and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador are touting an accord to ...

Massive Anti-Graft Protests Rock Haiti; 2 Dead

Content by: Voice of America Jean Hernst Eliscar in Les Cayes, Junior Racine in St. Marc, Charles Makenson in Jeremie and Yvan Martin in Cape ...

Mexican President Says Immigration Deal with US Will Protect Migrant Rights

Content by: Voice of America Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador rallied thousands of supporters in the northern border city of Tijuana on ...

UN: Venezuela Exodus Surpasses 4 Million

Content by: Voice of America CARACAS, VENEZUELA — The United Nations says the number of Venezuelans who have left their country in recent years has ...

GET CONNECTED WITH US

Subscribe to our newsletter