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Policy and advocacy
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Mental ill-health is the leading cause of disability in young people aged 10 to 24 years, yet young people are least likely to access mental health services due to underdetection, lack of awareness and help-seeking, and insufficient prioritization in policy frameworks.

Globally, there is a significant lack of funding and accessibility of mental health services for children and young people, leading to poorer mental health and associated socio-economic outcomes. Immediate global action is needed to better prioritize the needs of young people by protecting their mental health with public policy frameworks and economic development.

  1. Ensure full and direct participation of young people as well as people with lived experience to ensure a rights-based approach is enshrined in the foundation of mental health policies.
  2. Increase financial investment in early intervention and prevention programmes geared toward the mental health of young people.
  3. Strengthen mental health education in schools and universities, to promote mental health literacy, address stigma and improve help-seeking.

This Policy Brief was launched at the NCD Child Side-Event at WHA72 on 23 May 2019. At the event, Chantelle Booysen, Youth Leader and a representative of the Youth Leaders for the Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health presented the key mental health recommendations for young people to policymakers in Geneva. 

Learn more about the Youth Leaders for the Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health and their work at the Global Mental Health Commission webpage.

Policy and legislation
Human rights
Empowerment and service user involvement
All disorders
Primary care
Specialist care
Maternal and neonatal health
Children and adolescents
Middle East
North America
Central America and the Caribbean
South America
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