The Global Coalition for Youth Mental Well-being
The Global Coalition for Youth Mental Well-being aims to mobilize public and private sector investment and action to promote youth mental well-being.
Looking after mental well-being is fundamental to living a full, productive and healthy life. Wherever in the world, whatever one’s background, everyday stresses can lead to anxiety and challenge our mental well-being. By focusing on prevention and giving the tools and resources to individuals to manage their stress and anxiety, we have a better chance at helping people improve their mental well-being at an early stage. In the years ahead, mental health outcomes need to accelerate to meet the needs we face globally; to support that, UNICEF and the Z Zurich Foundation are launching a new global Coalition to get the world moving on youth mental well-being with a call for a massive scale-up in investment and action on mental health promotion and prevention.
A global Coalition for investment and action
Mental health and well-being are fundamental components of a young person’s healthy development and future. However, one in seven adolescents lives with a diagnosed mental health disorder. This is 13 percent of adolescents worldwide. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, children and young people carried the burden of mental health risks, with half of all mental disorders developing before age 15, and 75 percent by early adulthood.
Despite this, wide gaps exist between mental health needs and mental health funding. Globally only 2.1% of government health expenditure is allocated to mental health. We pay a high economic price for this neglect – around US$387.2 billion worth of lost human potential that could go towards national economies each year. The cost in terms of how it affects real lives, however, is incalculable.
Co-led by UNICEF and the Z Zurich Foundation, the Global Coalition for Youth Mental Well-being seeks to address this funding gap and the increasing global burden of mental disorders in youth by offering a global platform for investment and action on mental health promotion and prevention. The coalition aims to pool resources to strengthen young people’s social and emotional skills and provide a supportive environment for mental well-being, benefiting 30 million young people in 30 countries by 2030.
Increased funding and action are needed urgently. Failing to address mental health needs among youth can extend into adulthood; limiting youths’ opportunities to lead fulfilling lives, and societies’ pathways for upward growth. Often young people who have a mental health condition early in life face disproportionate challenges such as inability to continue education, engagement with criminal justice systems and indeed self-harm and suicide. The aim of the Coalition is to ensure that this great potential among our youth is not lost due to failure to promote well-being and prevent distress.
A unique framework connecting in-country programming, advocacy and learning
The Coalition’s framework includes in-country programming targeting both caregivers and youth, global and local advocacy targeting the general public, governments and policy makers and the business community, and learning opportunities for all members and participants of this global movement.
Supporting youth refugee’s mental well-being
In 2020, about 1% of refugees returned home. Building resources for self-care and supportive environments in new settings is essential to ensuring a transition that gives young people a chance to thrive.
We are currently adapting our interventions to support the well-being of adolescent and caregiver displaced from their homes and countries. This includes psychosocial intervention with adolescent refugees and peers in their host communities with a focus on skills for emotional well-being. While this is distinct from delivery of care and support services for young people experiencing distress, it seeks to universally support skills-building for the promotion of continued well-being and the prevention of severe mental health conditions.
We also focus on providing caregivers with the necessary information and support to promote adolescents’ well-being, strengthen their relationships, create safe spaces within their homes and, of course, supporting the caregivers’ own mental health and well-being.
The Coalition in action
We are inviting individuals and like-minded organizations to join us to shape a large mental well-being prevention & promotion response in support of young refugees from the Ukraine crisis. The appeal aims to scale up efforts for young people and their caregivers fleeing the violence, promoting mental well-being and preventing the development of life long mental health challenges during this difficult time.
The Z Zurich Foundation is matching all donations up to CHF 1 million until June 30th, 2022.
Building upon an existing global partnership
The Coalition is building on the investment, tools and activities of the UNICEF & Z Zurich Foundation partnership on adolescent mental health promotion and prevention launched in 2021. The partnership aims to benefit more than half a million adolescents and caregivers in seven countries and hopes to reach 30 million people worldwide through a communication campaign.
Interested in joining the coalition? Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.
Source: UNICEF’s 2021 State of the World’s Children report