Research around the World suggests that mental disorders account for a large proportion of the disease burden in young people in all societies. Most mental disorders begin during youth (12–24 years of age), although they are often first detected later in life. Poor mental health is strongly related to other health and development concerns in young people notably lower educational achievements, substance abuse, violence, and poor reproductive and sexual health. As WHO has reported also, the more extreme aspect of mental health, suicide, is the leading killer among teenagers around the world.
Gede Foundation marked this year’s Mental Health Day by organizing a seminar among school teachers in the FCT to raise awareness about mental health and disabilities among in-school youths, and ways in which some of the challenges could be addressed. 110 participants including heads of schools, teachers, school counselors, FCT Education Board and civil society organizations noted the need for school-based interventions for mental health.
The effectiveness of some interventions( linkages between schools and community mental health specialists) for some mental disorders in this age-group have been established, although more research is urgently needed to improve the range of affordable and feasible interventions, since most mental-health needs in young people are unmet.
Recommendations from the event will be forwarded to relevant agencies who will ensure that some level of school-based interventions is promoted.