“We must center Youth leaders at the forefront of decision-making globally — the leadership of young people, especially those with lived experience of mental health challenges, is so important. In mental health advocacy platforms, the participation and leadership of marginalized Youth populations becomes even more urgent and meaningful.”Viet Trinh, Lighthouse Social Enterprise and Being Youth Advisor.
On October 11, 2023, Being was at the world’s largest gathering for adolescents: the inaugural Global Forum for Adolescents (GFA). The Forum was organized by the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH).
Focused on Five Domains for Adolescent Wellbeing, the GFA gathered adolescents, youth advocates, and global leaders worldwide. They engaged in vibrant discussions, meaningful dialogue, and impactful actions to transform young people’s wellbeing and mental health globally.
During the GFA, Dr. Anshu Banerjee, Director of WHO’s Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health & Ageing, highlighted that in a survey completed by 1.2 million young people via the What Young People Want chatbot, “mental health” was one of the top four responses.
About one in seven adolescents worldwide experience a mental illness, accounting for 13% of the global health burden within this age bracket. Depression, anxiety, and behavioural disorders are leading causes of illness and disability experienced by adolescents. During this critical phase of life, young people establish behaviour patterns that significantly impact their and future generations’ health.
To shed light on this topic, we hosted a session by our partners, United for Global Mental Health, to hear from young advocates on leadership, breaking stigma, and collaboration for youth mental health. Youth Advisor Viet Trinh, Program Director at Lighthouse Social Enterprise, participated in the panel discussion with Youth leaders from Red de Jóvenes Indígenas de América Latina y el Caribe, UNICEF Latin American and the Caribbean, the Egyptian Society for Adolescent Medicine, Karolinska Institute, and Pathfinder International.
Key takeaways from our session at the Global Forum for Adolescents:
- Prioritize the voices of young people with lived experience,
- Embrace culture when designing mental health programmes,
- Address the cause of stigma
- Use multi-disciplinary approaches to respond to the mental health needs of young people.
We are pleased to have participated at the world’s largest gathering for adolescents as it supports our goal of working with young people to improve their mental wellbeing through research and innovation. Being is committed to putting young people’s needs first and encouraging their active participation in the initiative. Being believes that young people’s voices, perspectives, and experiences, including those with lived experience of mental health conditions, should be centred in all its activities, workstreams and objectives. We extend our gratitude to PMNCH for hosting this successful event.
Stay tuned for On-Demand Content on 1point8b.org!