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Posts Tagged ‘child and adolescent mental health’

World Health Organization focuses on Youth this World Mental Health Day

October 10 is World Mental Health Day, and it’s a day every single person can and should participate in. Every person should be aware of the state of their own mental health, be able to recognize the signs that they are stressed or ill, and know what to do when that happens. And while this is important regardless of one’s age, this year the World Health Organization is placing a focus on child and adolescent mental health.

Half of all mental health conditions start by age 14, but most cases go undetected and untreated until many years later or often not at all. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among those aged 15-29. Depression and eating disorders are top concerns for youth, as is alcohol and drug use that can lead to unsafe behavior. Even under the best circumstances, adolescence and young adulthood are challenging times. Not only do youth experience physical, hormonal, and emotional changes that can be uncomfortable and confusing, but youth are also dealing with academic and societal expectations and challenges. Young adults are facing major life changes such as choosing how to begin their futures, starting university or their first jobs and beginning to navigate adulthood when they may very much still feel like a child. While all this is exciting, it’s also stressful. And, if these pressures aren’t managed well with healthy coping strategies, mental health conditions can and do develop. Besides all the expected challenges of adolescence, we mustn’t forget the number of youth worldwide living in areas affected by war, natural disaster, health epidemics, conflict, and humanitarian emergencies. Young people living in situations such as these are particularly vulnerable to mental distress and illness.

Thankfully, there is a growing focus on prevention and building resilience that could make a difference in the lifelong mental health of youth everywhere. The first step is greater awareness and understanding of mental health as a part of overall health and wellbeing, and knowing the first symptoms of mental illness. The removal of stigma associated with mental illness, and access to proper care are also a vital part of building a more mentally healthy world. And of course, parents, teachers, guidance counselors, and other adults who interact with youth have a role to play in helping children build life skills that help them cope with challenges in healthy and constructive ways so that serious mental health conditions are less likely to become an issue.

WHO encourages governments worldwide to invest in the social, health and education sectors and support comprehensive, integrated, evidence-based programs for the mental health of young people. In particular, programs that raise awareness among adolescents and young adults of ways to look after their mental health and programs that help peers, parents and teachers know how to support their friends, children and students.

Resources, fact sheets, shareable graphics and more can be found on the World Health Organization’s website.

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STOMP Out Bullying and Blue Shirt Day

We at iCarol are excited to welcome STOMP Out Bullying&#0153 to the iCarol family, just in time for National Bullying Prevention Month in October. STOMP Out Bullying&#0153 is a leading national anti-bullying and cyberbullying organization for kids and teens in the United States.

STOMP Out Bullying&#0153 began in 2005 to address the issue of bullying and cyberbullying. They focus on reducing and preventing bullying and cyberbullying and other forms of digital abuse, and educating against racism, hate, and homophobia. Through a number of programs and initiatives, STOMP Out Bullying&#0153 teaches effective solutions on how to respond to bullying. They also provide help for those in need and at risk of suicide.

Bullying should not be considered a “rite of passage” or a normal and acceptable part of childhood. According to STOMP Out Bullying&#0153, kids who are bullied are more likely to experience depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Bullying can cause school absence and decreased academic participation – including dropping out of school entirely.

Bullies themselves are at risk, too. According to STOMP Out Bullying&#0153, bullies are more likely to abuse alcohol or drugs when they become adolescents or adults. They are at increased risk of being involved in criminal activity, and are more likely to be abusive to their spouse/partner or children as adults.

On the first Monday of October each year we celebrate Blue Shirt Day® World Day of Bullying Prevention to show solidarity and make that the day that bullying prevention is heard around the world to bring awareness to the issue of bullying. By creating a “sea of blue” in our schools, businesses, and out in the community, we’ll see just how many people wish to stand up against bullying of all kinds. On October 6th you can wear any blue shirt, or you can purchase one. Remember, “If we all stand up as one, no one stands alone.”

STOMP Out Bullying Blue Shirt Day® World Day of Bullying Prevention 2014 PSA from STOMP Out Bullying on Vimeo.

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