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Urgent action is needed to protect adolescent mental health

Ulaanbaatar, 10 May 2016 – Participants at the first ever national conference on adolescent mental health in Mongolia called for action and effective inter-sectoral cooperation.

The conference initiated by the City Health Department and co-organized with UNICEF with the support from relevant ministries and agencies aims to trigger the process of creating effective mechanisms of inter-sectoral collaboration and providing adolescent friendly mental health services in the country.

With 45.5% of the population being young people under the age of 24 years and 15.2% - being adolescents (National Statistics Office 2014), Mongolia is a young country and have enormous possibility to develop by investing in adolescents and youth. However, according to Adolescent Situation Analysis 2016 many issues related to adolescents’ health, education, safety and well-being are not sufficiently addressed.

Mental health of adolescents, in particular, is one of hugely overlooked areas.  In the last years, mental health indicators for adolescents are becoming particularly alarming. According to health statistics of 2015, among adolescents aged 15-19, injuries, poisoning and other external factors have become first leading cause of mortality. Within this indicator only suicide was 24.5 per cent.

2013 GSHS (Global School based Student Health Survey) revealed that adolescent girls require particular attention: 32.1% of girls aged 16 and 17 have ever seriously considered suicide and 11.6% of girls actually attempted suicide in the last 12 months. Young people suffer needlessly, unable to access appropriate services and support. If ignored, they are at high risk for abuse and neglect, suicide, alcohol and drug use, school failure, mental illness in adulthood and violent and criminal activities.

This conference brought together all the experts in this field from different sectors- health, education, children’s organization, social protection law enforcement agencies, NGOs and academia. They participants are to draw up set of recommendations to implement by relevant sectors and agencies in order to better protect adolescent from mental health problems. 

“We are also must be alert that apart from "traditional" causes of mental health problems among adolescents such as alcoholism, poverty, violent disciplines in the family and bullying at school etc., newly emerging issues, such as online bullying, grooming and sexual abuse or gaming related mental disorders and drug abuse are on the rise too” said Mr. Roberto Benes, UNICEF Mongolia Representative in his opening remarks.  “I truly hope that this conference will give valuable recommendations in order to accelerate the process of creating enabling policy environment and establishing accessible and friendly services for adolescents in need 

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and well-being 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 Mongolia and its work visit: www.unicef.mn

 

Twitter:  @UNICEF_Mongolia

Facebook: fb.com/unicefmongolia

 

For further information, please contact:

Bolorchimeg Dagva, Adolescent and HIV Specialist, UNICEF Mongolia, bdagva@unicef.org

Ariunzaya Davaa, Communication Specialist, UNICEF Mongolia, adavaa@unicef.org, Phone: 99112652

 

 
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