International Youth Day: UN chief urges people to talk about mental-health in same way as overall health

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On the occasion of the International Youth Day being observed across the globe today, August 12, UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon in his message stressed the need for lifting the veil that keeps young people locked in a chamber of isolation and silence.

Alarmed by the situation that 20 per cent of the world’s young people experience a mental health condition each year, Ban observed that risks were especially great as individual’s transition from childhood to adulthood, and stigma and shame often compounded the problem, preventing them from seeking the support they need.

“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,” conveyed Ban in his message.

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Ban urged the member states to invest in mental health services to stop marginalization of youth with mental health condition. “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,” he added.

“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,” he advised. Ban called upon the world community to enable youth with mental health conditions to realize their full potential and show that mental health matters to whole humanity.

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