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WHO and UNICEF sound the alarm on youth mental health

Why We Need to Re-Brand Adolescent Mental Health | Amber Cowburn | TEDxCambridgeUniversity

Up to 20 percent of the world’s adolescents have mental health problems

The World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund warn that the spread of mental health problems among children and adolescents is pushing young people into dangerous and self-destructive behavior. The first WHO-UNICEF conference on this issue opens in Florence on Thursday.

According to WHO and UNICEF, up to 20 percent of adolescents worldwide face mental health problems, with half of the illnesses occurring before the age of 14.WHO and UNICEF sound the alarm on youth mental health According to experts, most of these diseases are not diagnosed or treated, which leads to alarming rates of suicide, self-harm and anxiety disorders..

Chiara Servili, WHO’s Department of Mental Health, says the crisis has no boundaries: children in both poor and rich countries face depression, anxiety and emotional distress. However, most young people live in developing countries, where young people may be exposed to risk factors such as poverty or chronic diseases, including HIV, as well as migration or displacement and violence. “All these are risk factors that affect the psychosocial well-being of young people,” the expert emphasizes..

In rich countries, teenagers also have to deal with violence and stress caused by family problems, bullying in school and social networks, and numerous other difficult situations, she said..

According to the WHO, depression is one of the most common causes of illness and disability among adolescents worldwide..WHO and UNICEF sound the alarm on youth mental health Suicide is the third leading cause of death in adolescents aged 15-19.

As Servili notes, stigmatization of mental illness prevents young people from seeking help.

“The lack of information about mental health means that neither parents, teachers, nor adolescents themselves are aware that their experiences are related to mental health. Another major issue is the availability of care and skilled professionals, ”she says..

Servili warns that if left untreated, mental illness can have serious short- and long-term health consequences for adolescents. According to her, the inability to cope with their own problems often pushes young people to abuse alcohol and drugs, unsafe sexual and reproductive behavior, violence and other risky activities..

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