CONNECT
search advanced search
UNICEF Innocenti
Office of Research-Innocenti
search menu

UNICEF and WHO to hold first joint consultation on young people’s mental health

World Experts and Young Advocates to Gather in Florence to Address Global Mental Health Gaps

(10 October, Florence) – With suicide a leading global cause of death among young people aged 15 to 19, and growing awareness of the scale of mental health disorders among children and young people, on 7-9 November UNICEF and WHO will convene a global consultation on child and adolescent mental health. The consultation, organized by the UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti, will be held in Florence and inaugurate the Leading Minds for Children and Young People annual conference on the future of childhood.

Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of UNICEF and Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization will co-host the conference, supported by other international organizations and several governments. Leading mental health experts and policy makers from around the world have committed to participate, along with youth leaders, and representatives from government, civil society organizations, foundations, business and the media.

Adolescent girls and boys enjoy interacting with each at an adolescent friendly health care corner in Dacope Upazila Health Complex, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

 

Organized as an innovative dialogue, the consultation is designed to spark new ideas, open pathways and accelerate practical solutions for global gaps in young people’s mental health. Young people will be at the forefront of the meeting and will comprise around 40 per cent of the participants. 

“The world is facing a mental health crisis among its youngest population. This requires a major coordinated global response which is youth-led, evidence- and rights-based,” said Priscilla Idele, Director a.i. of UNICEF Innocenti. 

A key focus of Leading Minds 2019 is changing the game on mental health and fostering healthy young minds. The consultation will identify the commitments, partnerships and resources required to support proven and promising solutions and breakthroughs for better mental health. Key areas for discussion will include programmes, platforms and systems for service delivery; understanding lived experiences; and exploration of technology and evidence. Leading Minds 2019 aims to generate visibility, break down entrenched stigma around mental health, help inform regional and national policy shifts, bolster resource allocations and galvanize collective action.

Worrying data

Mental health is emerging from the shadows as an urgent focus of global children's health and well-being. Mental health conditions account for 16 per cent of the global burden of disease and injury among the world’s 1.2 billion adolescents. Three out of four adult mental health problems begin during childhood and adolescence.

The theme of World Mental Health Day on 10 October 2019 is suicide prevention. According to 2017 data from the World Health Organization, suicide is among the top five causes of adolescent death globally. And evidence shows that it is just as much a risk for young people in in low- and middle-income countries as it is in rich ones.

Download world Mental Health Day "A Day for 40 Seconds of Action" Campaign Flyer

Beyond suicide, an array of mental ill health challenges affect many young people. Depression is the leading cause of disability among adolescent girls and the fourth highest cause of disability among adolescent boys. But even as the magnitude of the challenge becomes ever more apparent, so do the gaps in mental health resources, with only one of the WHO’s regions – Europe – having more than 11 mental health workers per 100,000 population, while Africa has less than 1 per 100,000.

Leading Minds 2019 will contribute to catalyzing a change in the way the world supports a and promotes healthy young minds, and establish a new blueprint for how to involve young people alongside adults to co-create solutions with them on the issues that affect them.

The key outcomes of the consultation will be synthesized and form the basis of UNICEF’s annual flagship report, The State of the World’s Children, which in 2020 will focus on the theme of child and adolescent mental health.

For more information about the Leading Minds conference at UNICEF Innocenti please contact: leadingminds@unicef.org  

 

 

Related Articles

Leading Minds for Children and Young People
Article Article

Leading Minds for Children and Young People

17 years old Mamta and 16 years old Vinita stand outside their home  in  the village of Berhabad, in Jamua block of Giridih. Mamta has participated in a UNICEF supported programme to empower girls with self defence and confidence to build skills for independent decision making.  (26 August 2019)  UNICEF is launching a new annual conference: Leading Minds for Children and Young People, with an inaugural event on 7-9 November 2019 in Florence, Italy, hosted by the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti. This year, the conference will focus on mental health.Each year, this conference will convene a deep dive into a theme of emerging and essential importance to children and young people. UNICEF Innocenti takes the lead in organizing the conference, in consultation with other relevant parties within UNICEF and externally. The conference is by invitation only, but findings, conclusions and decisions will be made widely available on various channels. Convening has long been a powerful pathway for UNICEF to promote children’s rights and causes. The 1990 World Summit for Children, the 2002 UN General Assembly on World Fit for Children, and more recently the Generation Unlimited launch and convening in September 2018 in Washington D.C. are three examples of the organization’s ability to bring together knowledge brokers, influencers, policy makers, private sector, civil society and young people around key challenges and solutions for children. We aim to end the conference with a bold but achievable global ambition for children, with a set of partners committed to taking it forward. The conference will leverage shared value partnerships with donors, the private sector, government and young people themselves, to set strategic goals and funding priorities.For more information please write to us at: LeadingMinds@unicef.org. More details will become available on this site in the comming weeks.

Documents

Concept note
Leading Minds for Children and Young People - Concept Note 2019
DOWNLOAD: