Mental health and psychosocial well-being are fundamental components of a child’s healthy development and future. However, more than 1 in 7 adolescents aged 10–19 is estimated to live with a diagnosed mental disorder globally. Almost 46,000 adolescents die from suicide each year, among the top five causes of death for their age group. The COVID-19 pandemic has only worsened the situation, making it more than ever urgent to act.
Yet, mental health remains grossly underfunded worldwide and in addition to the incalculable effect on human lives, we pay a high economic price for this neglect – nearly US$390 billion worth of lost human potential that could go towards national economies each year.
What is the Global Coalition for Youth Mental Well-being?
UNICEF, with the support of the Z Zurich Foundation, launched the Global Coalition for Youth Mental Well-being to address the increasing global burden of mental health challenges in youth. Through a three-pillar framework, the coalition aims to strengthen the social and emotional skills and supportive environment for the mental well-being of young people:
- Investment: Mobilize financial and in-kind investment for youth mental health programming, with a focus on prevention and promotion and in countries where resources are most needed.
- Advocacy: Advocate and communicate to influence youth, caregivers, policymakers, business leaders and the public to recognize, act on and invest in youth mental health.
- Knowledge: Facilitate learning and knowledge exchange among partners and members of the coalition.
What are the objectives of the coalition?
The coalition will engage its members and the wider private sector to address stigma, raise awareness, increase private and public investment for mental health programming and improve business practices related to workplace mental health.
The coalition’s four objectives are:
- Address stigma surrounding mental health and raise awareness on the need to protect children, youth and their families’ mental health.
- Call for policymakers and governments to act on youth mental well-being.
- Increase private and public investment in UNICEF’s mental health programming, with a focus on youth and prevention and promotion.
- Improve business practices related to workplace mental health to support employees and their families’ mental health.
Which businesses are members of the coalition?
Since its inception, the coalition has attracted the attention of the private sector and coalition members now include Jo Malone London, Spotify, Zurich Insurance Group and Z Zurich Foundation.
What are the coalition’s highlights so far?
The coalition convened business leaders for a round-table discussion on mental health in June 2022, brought youth mental health to the Goals House audience at the United Nations General Assembly with a flagship event in September 2022 and hosted an affiliate session at Davos 2023 called ‘Collaborating to Scale Impact on Mental Health.’
How can I learn more about the coalition?
Please contact UNICEF’s Victoria Noble, Partnerships and Advocacy Specialist, at vn****@un****.org if you have any questions or would like more information about the coalition – including opportunities to join.