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PODCAST SPECIAL EDITION: Young Leaders at Leading Minds

Young mental health advocates address leaders on their agenda for change

Youth Leaders participating in the Leading Minds 2019 conference on mental health and UNICEF staff recording a Special Edition podcast at the UNICEF Innocenti office in Florence.

(7 November 2019) On the eve of the first ever UNICEF and WHO joint consultation on young people's mental health - at Leading Minds 2019 in Florence, Italy - invited young leaders gathered to record a podcast documenting their views on urgent actions needed to address the rising mental health crisis. On arrival in Florence, a discussion on enhancing digital engagement around Leading Minds 2019 led to their idea to produce the podcast to provide a detailed discussion on their recommendations for global experts and decision makers. The podcast provides a platform for them to expand on their own experiences, their efforts to make change and what they most need to accelerate improvements in global mental health.

Listen to the podcast here

Link to the special leading minds website here

Leading Minds is UNICEF’s new annual global conference series – launched this year as the world celebrates 30 years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child – to highlight burning issues affecting children and young people in the 21st century, and to formulate decisive action informed by scholars, scientists, governments, philanthropists, business, civil society and young people themselves. 

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Increase in child and adolescent mental disorders spurs new push for action by UNICEF and WHO
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Increase in child and adolescent mental disorders spurs new push for action by UNICEF and WHO

The opening session of the Leading Minds 2019 conference on mental health for children and young people in Sala Brunelleschi at Istituto Degli Innocenti, Florence, Italy.press releaseNEW YORK/GENEVA/FLORENCE, 5 November 2019 – With the alarmingly high rates of self-harm, suicide and anxiety among children and young people around the world, UNICEF and the World Health Organization are teaming up with some of the world’s leading minds to tackle this growing threat.“Too many children and young people, rich and poor alike, in all four corners of the world, are experiencing mental health conditions,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director. “This looming crisis has no borders or boundaries. With half of mental disorders starting before age 14, we need urgent and innovative strategies to prevent, detect and, if needed, treat them at an early age.”Link to the special leading minds websiteIn a joint push to put child and adolescent mental disorders higher up on the global health agenda, UNICEF and WHO will co-host their first ever conference on the topic in Florence, Italy, 7-9 November. The conference is part of Leading Minds, UNICEF’s new annual global conference series to highlight major issues affecting children and young people in the 21st century. Part of celebrations marking the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the conference will lead to recommendations for decisive action informed by scholars, scientists, governments, philanthropists, business, civil society and young people themselves.Vikram Patel, Pershing Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School, giving his keynote address at the Leading Minds 2019 conference on child and adolescent mental health co-hosted by UNICEF and WHO at the Istituto Degli Innocenti in Florence, Italy. According to the latest data: Up to 20 per cent of adolescents globally experience mental disorders.Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-19-year-olds worldwide. Around 15 per cent of adolescents in low-and middle-income countries have considered suicide.The cost of mental disorders is not only personal; it is also societal and economic. And yet, child and adolescent mental health has often been overlooked in global and national health programming. “Too few children have access to programmes that teach them how to manage difficult emotions,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization. “Very few children with mental health conditions have access to the services they need. This must change.”Leading Minds 2019 will look at the resources, partnerships, services, political commitment and public support needed to promote the mental health of children and young people. The conference will examine the rationale and the results from the state of the science and practice including the latest evidence on brain health in the earliest years of life, through early and middle childhood and adolescence. It will consider gaps in data that need to be addressed as well as programmes that have been successful. It will also interrogate the overall prevalence of mental ill health across ages and geographies, causes and contributing factors, and programmes for preventing and treating disorders and promoting healthy minds.A breakout session in the Leading Minds 2019 conference on mental health for children and young people in the Bottegha de Raggazi room at Istituto Degli Innocenti, Florence, Italy. The Leading Minds Conference has been organized with the financial support of the Italian Government through Italian Cooperation for Development. About the UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti The Office of Research – Innocenti is UNICEF’s dedicated research centre. It undertakes research on emerging or current issues in order to inform the strategic directions, policies and programmes of UNICEF and its partners, shape global debates on child rights and development, and inform the global research and policy agenda for all children.For more information, please contact:Sarah Crowe, UNICEF Innocenti, scrowe@unicef.org Dale Rutstein, UNICEF Innnocenti, +39 335 758 2585, drutstein@unicef.orgPatrizia Faustini, UNICEF Innocenti, +39 2033 253, pfaustini@unicef.org

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