Z Zurich Foundation and UNICEF launch a global partnership to promote young people's mental well-being

The partnership aims to benefit more than half a million SCE adole nts and caregivers in seven countries and hopes to reach 30 million people worldwide through a communications campaign.

23 September 2021
Maria and her friends sits in front of a study hall
Maria Air (14) with her friends Martha Seseo (13), Left, and Rofina (14), Right, sits in front of a study hall in an all-female dormitory, Sorong District, West Papua, Indonesia.

Zurich/ New York, September 23 - Z Zurich Foundation and UNICEF today launched a three-year partnership aimed at promoting good mentality - among young people around the world.

The partnership will provide 400,000 youth and 150,000 caregivers in seven countries with information, skills and strategies on how to care for their own mental health and that of one another. It will also support a global communications campaign that aims to reach 30 million people and promote positive conversations and connections that increase awareness, knowledge and action around mental health.

It is estimated that one in seven adolescents between the ages of 10 and 19 lives with a diagnosed mental disorder. While adolescence can be a time of high risk for developing mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression, it is also an important time of life for establishing healthy behavioral patterns and social and emotional learning that can bring lifelong benefits. To reduce the increasing burden of mental disorders, efforts to promote mental well-being among all young people and their caregivers are critical. However, due to the growing awareness about the negative effects and financial costs of mental health conditions on life and society, the investment gap persists, especially for mental health promotion and prevention programs.

“Positive mental health helps us to think, learn, and build our lives. But for many young people, psychosocial stress interferes with their daily lives, negatively impacts their health, and prevents them from thriving,” said Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director for Partnerships. “The COVID-19 pandemic is only adding to the pressure on young people and their families, putting the mental health of an entire generation at risk. With this partnership, we are kick-starting to urgently respond to a crisis that the world cannot afford for neglected and underfunded leave.”

UNICEF and the Z Zurich Foundation announced the partnership today at the Leaders on Purpose CEO Summit during the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. As well as supporting programs and campaigns, partnership seek to build a coalition of public and private sector leaders who are willing to take action to promote the positive mental well-being of young people—including by improving which programs are driven through partnerships—and to support global and local advocacy on the importance of investing in mental health promotion and prevention for youth.

“Today we are launching a global movement that has a Vision of a world where every young person is supported to achieve a positive mental well-being. This is an improvement and a vital challenge. Working together we can turn the tide and help many young people realize their potential. Join us,” says Gary Shaughnessy, Chair of the Z Zurich Foundation.

The programs supported by the partnership will start in Viet Nam, Mexico, Indonesia, Nepal, Colombia, Ecuador and the Maldives. My program of tools and approaches developed in these countries will focus on the delivery of interventions that build mental health literacy, strengthen social and learning and emotional skills, as well as enhance caregiver and adult support. Materials developed will include information on emotion regulation, stress management and problem solving, among other topics. Teaching methods will include storytelling, peer learning and learning through role models, and will utilize various digital, school and community platforms for distribution. The global campaign supported by the partnership will launch in early October 2021, in the run-up to World Mental Health Day.

Media contacts

Manon Parmentier
Brand and Communications Lead
Z Zurich Foundation
Tel: +41 76 311 40 21
Jürg Keim
Senior Media Spokesperson
UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein
Tel: +41 44 317 22 41


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.

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About Z Zurich

The Z Zurich Foundation works with Zurich Insurance Group employees, customers, business partners, as well as with governments and NGOs in pursuing a future where people can thrive in the face of increasing climate hazards, in which we feel the pressures of life. Empowered to speak up, and where the marginalized in our society can reach their full potential.

Z Zurich Foundation is a Swiss-based charitable foundation founded by members of the Zurich Insurance Group. This is the main tool used by Zurich Insurance Group to realize its global community investment strategy.