In a world where an estimated three-quarters of adult mental health conditions have their roots in childhood and adolescence, the urgency to prioritize the mental well-being of young people has never been more pronounced. At the forefront of this concern is the changing landscape of adolescent health, with injuries, mental illnesses, and non-communicable diseases emerging as prominent contributors to youth mortality.
Additionally, factors such as human and child rights violations, stigma, global health crises, and economic pressures are amplifying the demand for mental health support and services among adolescents and youth, along with their parents and caregivers.
In response to these profound challenges and opportunities, the eMental Health International Collaborative (eMHIC), in collaboration with UNICEF and the McKinsey Health Institute, co-convened an Expert Dialogue on Digital Mental Health for Adolescents and Youth at UNICEF’s offices in Geneva, Switzerland, in October 2023. This critical event included subject matter experts from the global digital mental health domain and the World Health Organization, all coinciding with #WorldMentalHealthDay2023.
The two-day conclave, skillfully facilitated by the McKinsey Health Institute, offered panel discussions, workshops, interviews, and presentations that provided a comprehensive overview of digital mental health and well-being solutions available for adolescents and youth worldwide. The discussions included a specific focus on low- to middle-income settings, recognizing the unique challenges and opportunities in these contexts.
As a pivotal outcome of the event, the collaborating entities now strive to establish a consensus on a draft set of key design principles to guide digital mental health solutions for adolescents and youth. These principles hold the promise of driving meaningful change in addressing the pressing mental health issues faced by young individuals. The final publication of these principles is scheduled for eMHIC’s 9th Digital Mental Health International Congress, set to take place in Ottawa, Canada, on September 19 and 20, 2024.
This initiative exemplifies a collective commitment to empower every young person’s mental well-being, offering hope and support in a world where the mental health of our youth has never been more vital.
“Let’s empower every young person’s mental well-being!” – Executive Director, Anil Thapliyal