#OnMyMind: Better mental health for every child
Every child deserves to grow up in loving, nurturing and safe environments.
In every part of the world, poor mental health causes suffering for children and young people. It is a top cause of death, disease and disability, especially for older adolescents.
Half of all mental health conditions start by 14 years of age, but most cases go undetected and untreated.
Every child has the right to grow up in loving, nurturing and safe environments, with supportive relationships and access to quality mental health and psychosocial support.
Historic under-investment in mental health has led to serious gaps in prevention and care for children, adolescents and caregivers with mental health problems. COVID-19 has put the mental health and well-being of an entire generation at even greater risk. The disruption to their routines, education, recreation, as well as concern for family income and health, is leaving many young people feeling afraid, angry and anxious for their future.
What needs to happen
Positive mental health means better life outcomes for children.
To achieve this, UNICEF is calling for investment and action to support and protect all children and young people, and a focus on ending neglect, abuse and childhood traumas.
Investment for all: Greater and better investment in mental health and psychosocial support services for all children, adolescents and families, in all countries.
Promotion and prevention in the family: Support for families through programmes that promote positive parenting and nurturing caregiving, and support caregiver well-being and mental health.
Response in the school and community: Ensuring that all children and adolescents learn and interact in safe and secure environments with supportive relationships and access to mental health services for all who need them.
Changing the public conversation: Changing the global conversation and public perception on mental health and mental ill-health, and related issues of abuse and neglect.
Take the mental health quiz
For parents: Start the conversation
Far too many children deal with mental health challenges on their own. As parents, we can change that by providing nurturing, loving environments for our children and teenagers, and asking the simple questions – how are you doing, what’s on our mind? Here are tips and resources to do just that whatever age your child might be:
More resources for your family
Common conditions explained
Infants to pre-teens
General mental health tips
For young people: Share, talk and help each other
Young people around the world are breaking the silence around mental health conditions by speaking out.
Learn about the issue and talk about it in a way that prevents misinformation and encourages people to ask for help when they need it. Talk about how you are feeling and reach out and connect with others if you need support or are concerned for a loved one.
Join the conversation
Express your views and support for the issues that matter to you on Voices of Youth – UNICEF's digital community for youth, by youth.
Be a part of the change
For policymakers, researchers and partners
Globally about two per cent of government health budgets are allocated to mental health spending. In some countries it’s less than US$1 per person. These figures fall far short of treating mental health conditions, especially for those facing the greatest challenges, and promoting positive mental health for all.
We pay a high economic price for this neglect – globally around US$387 billion worth of lost human potential that could go towards national economies each year. The cost in terms of how it affects real lives, however, is incalculable.