More than one in seven adolescents live with a mental disorder, according to Unicef

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Unicef ​​has published a report on the mental health status of children aged 0 to 19. According to figures released in this publication, 49,000 young people commit suicide each year, making it one of the top five causes of death in this age group.

“It is estimated that 13% of adolescents aged 10 to 19 live with a diagnosed mental disorder,” said Unicef ​​on the occasion of the publication of the report “The State of the World’s Children 2021: In My Mind: Promoting, Protecting and Caring for Children’s Mental Health. “The report, published at the international conference” Watch out for our rights now ! “works as an alert on children’s mental health, which has particularly deteriorated during the covid-19 pandemic.

“It has been long, very long months for all of us, especially the children … The impact is significant and it is only the tip of the iceberg,” said the Executive Director of UNICEF, Henrietta Fore. “Almost 46,000 adolescents commit suicide each year, which is among the top five causes of death for this age group.”

The organization dedicated to the rights of the child regrets that only “2% of government health budgets are allocated to mental health spending in the world”. An investment that is “too little”, deplores Fore.

Protect children’s mental health

To support parents, Unicef ​​has put online a guide entitled ” What’s on your mind? “Divided into four age categories (0-5 years to 14-18 years), this campaign explains the main changes experienced at each stage of life and provides tips for” starting a conversation about mental health “with children.

Private and public institutions have a role to play, according to Unicef, which encourages these organizations to commit “to urgently invest in the mental health of children and adolescents in all sectors”, and to focus particularly on prevention. She also wants to ensure better monitoring of mental health disorders, through education and social protection, and finally to break “the silence that surrounds mental illness”.

“Mental health is part of physical health – we can’t afford to continue to think of it any other way,” Fore explained. “For too long, in rich and poor countries alike, we have seen too little understanding and too little investment in something essential to maximizing the potential of every child. That has to change,” she said. concluded.

Louis Tardy


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