UNFPA Tasks Govts on Youths’ Mental Health

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AS the world marked International Youth Day yesterday, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has urged governments to prioritise the mental health of young people.International Youth Day is commemorated on August 12 yearly and that of 2014 had the theme, ‘Mental health matters.’ It harped on complete physical, mental and social well-being of young people.

In a statement by its Chief of Media and Communications Branch, Abubakar Dungus, UNFPA stated that the essential component of the well-being of the youth was their ability to realise their potential, cope with the stresses of life, build healthy relationships, work productively and participate fully in society.

The organization went on: “The mental health of young people is largely ignored and, as a result, depression is the largest cause of disability, and suicide is one of the leading causes of death among young people worldwide.

“On their journey to adulthood, adolescents discover who they are, what they aspire to and the risks they face. They come to terms with how their identities relate to those around them and learn to deal with social expectations. Facing stigma and discrimination due to gender, sexuality, HIV, disability or other status can make this passage especially challenging.

“It is critically important for adolescents to have supportive relationships with teachers, role models and mentors, so that they can emerge into adulthood with positive self-esteem and self-value.”

It was noted in studies that across the world, one in four adolescent girls are sexually assaulted and one in three young women were married before the age of 18.

Reports stated that the situation was even worse for millions of adolescents living in areas of conflict or humanitarian crises and when adolescents are prevented from having control over their physical and mental integrity, it has severe consequences for their mental health.

Experts asserted that the resulting post-traumatic stress disorders and depression multiply the injustice they face and add to the burden of unwanted pregnancies, HIV infection or unsafe abortions and early exposure to trauma and adversity is an established preventable risk factor for mental disorders.

Copyright © 2014 The Guardian. All rights reserved.


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