Photo Credit: Maskot/Getty Images via The Lancet

Led by Fondation Botnar, mental health practitioners, youth leaders, and researchers discussed the impact of urban environments on young people’s mental health in a comment on The Lancet titled “Why Cities Matter for Adolescent Mental Health and Wellbeing.” Co-authors include Nicole Bardikoff, Associate Director, Global Mental Health at Grand Challenges Canada, and Youth Advisor Sweetbert M. Anselimus, Executive Director of Tanzania’s Psychosocial Welfare Organization.

90% of the 1.2 billion adolescents worldwide live in a low- or middle-income country (LMIC). That’s why addressing youth mental health challenges is crucial for their wellbeing. This comment explores how city life presents opportunities and challenges for adolescent mental health. Cities offer economic opportunities, interpersonal connections and prospects for personal development. Howeverthey can also pose risks, such as higher mental health problems, concentrated poverty, low social capital and social segregation.

By 2030, half of the urban population globally is expected to be under 18. In addition, LMIC settings are projected to contribute to 90% of this demographic expansion. The state of global urban environments has a significant impact on the wellbeing of young people. That’s why prioritizing youth-friendly cities is crucial.