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AASU On The International Youth Day-2014

Aug 12, 2014, 10:23 AM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

People, around the world, will mark the International Youth Day on August 12 by embarking on different activities to raise awareness of the challenges and hardship facing the youth. The Day was adopted by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in 1999. The theme of this year’s celebration is:”Youth and Mental Health” under the slogan ‘Mental Health Matters’.

This year’s theme is intended to bring to the fore the harmful effects of stigmatization and discrimination often experienced by Youth with mental health conditions which in turn can lead to exclusion and/or discourage people from seeking help for fear of being negatively ‘labeled’ according to WHO . Therefore it is incumbent on all those concerned to contribute their quota in all efforts geared towardsdispelling and discouraging stigmatization of young people bothered by mental health in order to enable them seek the services and support they need.

This year’s celebration is taking place at a very difficult moment for the youth in Africa. Many parts of the continent are engulfed in one crisis or the other. Central African Country (CAR) and South Sudan are currently bogged down in civil wars; Libya sinking in permanent instability and being a safe sanctuary for terrorists; terrorist groups like Boko Haram operating in Nigeria and beyond killing, maiming and kidnapping innocent people particularly the young ones and Al Shaabab doing same in Somalia and beyond and the massive illegal migration of the African youth through the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean Sea with its daily cohorts of dead bodies etc. The youth are among the main victims and actors at of all these crises.

The socio-economic and political environment is not conducive for the young people in Africa to unleash their creative energies in order to provide for their needs. Everywhere in Africa the situation is the same- massive youth unemployment and abject poverty among others. The cumulative effects of all these problems are mental disorders amongst young people or their engagement in unholy activities such as terrorism. The solutions to these problems lie in good governance, equitable distribution of national wealth, fighting the cancers of corruption, nepotism and cronyism among others. No single African country is able to deal successfully with challenges facing the youth; therefore it is imperative for African governments to collectively and urgently implement all the decisions concerning the youth that they have taken at their numerous meetings. The time is for less words, more deeds.

As the International Community is marking August 12 as International Youth Day, AASU urges all its members and friendly organizations to undertake information and awareness campaigns on issues pertaining to the youth and encourage the Authorities to put in place policies that can help to resolve the numerous problems confronting young people and allowing them to be part of decision-making process.

AASU encourages its members and friendly organizations to embark on anti-stigmatization and anti-discrimination campaigns of young people experiencing mental health conditions and for them to be given the necessary attention and be considered as part and parcel of the society.

AASU calls on African countries through the African Union (AU), once more, to implement collectively without further delay all the decisions they have taken on the youth matters in order to avert an otherwise explosive situation beyond mental health matters.

Let’s us accord the necessary attention to ‘Mental Health Matters’.

(Secretary General)