World Mental Health : Attention Drawn To Youths

Cameroonians joined in activities to commemorate the day yesterday, October 10.

2018 World Mental Health day was commemorated yesterday, October 10, with focus on the youths said to be the most vulnerable. The theme of celebration was “Young People And Mental Health In A Changing World.” Information from the World Health Organisation (W.H.O) indicates that half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14, but most cases go undetected and untreated.

Experts reveal that adolescence and the early years of adulthood are a time of life when many changes occur, for example changing schools, leaving home, and starting university or a new job. For many, these are exciting times but can also be moments of stress and apprehension for others. In some cases, if not recognised and managed, these feelings could lead to mental illness.

The expanding use of online technologies, while undoubtedly bringing many benefits, has also brought additional pressure to youths. Many adolescents are also living in areas affected by humanitarian emergencies such as conflicts, natural disasters and epidemics. Young people living in situations such as these are particularly vulnerable to mental distress and illness.

W.H.O statistics show that depression is the third leading cause of mental health amongst adolescents and suicide is the second leading cause of death among 1529-year-olds.

Also, harmful use of alcohol and illicit drugs among adolescents is a major issue in many countries and can lead to risky behaviours such as unsafe sex or dangerous driving. Fortunately, there is a growing recognition of the importance of helping young people build mental resilience, from the earliest ages, in order to cope with the challenges of today’s world.

W.H.O reveals that much can be done to help build mental resilience from an early age and to manage and recover from mental illness. Prevention, experts say, begins with being aware of and understanding the early warning signs and symptoms of mental illness.

Parents and teachers can help build life skills of children to help them cope with everyday challenges at home and at school. Psychosocial support can be provided in schools and other community settings and of course training for health workers to enable them to detect and manage mental health disorders can be put in place, improved or expanded.
 

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