#OnMyMind: Five ways UNICEF supplies support positive mental health
Around the world, innovative tools and kits help children and adolescents in emergencies strengthen emotional regulation skills and foster resilience
UNICEF’s life-saving supplies play a crucial role in protecting the mental health of children and youths in conflicts, health emergencies and disasters. These supplies help them build nurturing relationships and create a stimulating environment for their psychosocial wellbeing. These are particularly important when access to quality services and appropriate support is limited.
Take a look at some of the innovative tools and kits that UNICEF deploys to protect and promote the mental health and psychosocial wellbeing of children and adolescents around the world.
The MindMe Kit: Promoting positive mental health for every child in emergencies
UNICEF is developing MindMe, a research-based, innovative kit dedicated to mental health support for children and adolescents in emergencies. The kit is designed to equip children, adolescents and caregivers with essential and evidence-based tools and techniques. It aims to help children to express their emotions safely and encourages sharing and connecting.
This innovative kit is inspired by, builds on and complements the mental health tools and psychosocial kits successfully developed and implemented in countries like Syria, Mexico and Uganda.
Syria: Fostering healing and resilience
Across Syria, UNICEF has been working with supplies to provide mental health and psychosocial support to children who have experienced conflict, insecurity and other forms of extreme adversity in the country. By using tools like puppets, trained facilitators enable playful learning about mental health and emotions, especially the uncomfortable ones, to help children engage with and express their feelings in safe and meaningful ways. Through play, children learn about conflict resolution and enhance their communication skills to strengthen relationships and promote peaceful coexistence.
These activities also involve children in experiences that allow them to regain a sense of normalcy, playfulness and joy amidst ongoing challenges.
Mexico: Enabling emotional expression
In Tapachula , Mexico, UNICEF has teamed up with partners to develop and distribute psychosocial kits to support migrant children, including unaccompanied ones, in overcoming adverse situations along the migratory route and addressing ongoing stressors they encounter. The kits facilitate activities like mask creation that encourage children to share their feelings and emotions and promote resilience. Early protection and intervention with these psychosocial kits are key to preventing life-long negative mental health outcomes.
Uganda: Strengthening socio-emotional development
In Uganda, together with the government, UNICEF launched the Life Skills Toolkit. Developed based on the Adolescent Kit, this Toolkit provides structured life skills sessions for adolescents in and out of schools, including refugee and internally displaced youths, who often face disruptions to their education. These activities foster social innovation and entrepreneurship skills, while nurturing core competencies, such as coping with stress, managing emotions and enhancing communication. The Toolkit empowers affected youths to strengthen resilience and protect their mental health in challenging circumstances.
Türkiye: Providing supportive and responsive care
In response to the catastrophic earthquakes in southeast Türkiye, UNICEF has been at the frontline supplying essentials for children, including the Recreational Kits. Each kit includes psychosocial tools like the emotion cube that has 16 emojis to help children express their feelings, when words are hard to find. The Recreational Kit also encourages children to attend psychosocial sessions in UNICEF-supported Child-Friendly spaces, offering them supportive and responsive care during some of their most difficult moments.