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August 12 International Youth Day Prevalence of Mental Health Disorders among Youth

Aug 11, 2015, 11:17 AM | Article By: Dr Azadeh

The United Nations’ (UN) International Youth Day is celebrated on August 12 each year to recognize efforts of the world’s youth in enhancing global society. It also aims to promote ways to engage them in becoming more actively involved in making positive contributions to their communities.

What do people do?

Many activities and events that take place around the world on International Youth Day promote the benefits that young people bring into the world. Many countries participate in this global event, which may include youth conferences on issues such as education and employment. Other activities include concerts promoting the world’s youth, as well as various sporting events, parades and mobile exhibitions that showcase young people’s achievements.


The UN defines the worlds’ youth as the age group between 15 and 24 years old, making up one-sixth of the human population. Many of these young men and women live in developing countries and their numbers are expected to rise steeply. The idea for International Youth Day was proposed in 1991 by young people who were gathered in Vienna, Austria, for the first session of the UN’s World Youth Forum. The forum recommended that an International Youth Day be declared, especially for fundraising and promotional purposes, to support the United Nations Youth Fund in partnership with youth organizations.

In 1998 a resolution proclaiming August 12 as International Youth Day was adopted during the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth. That recommendation was later endorsed by the UN General Assembly in 1999. International Youth Day was first observed in 2000. One of the year’s highlights was when eight Latin American and Caribbean youth and youth-related organizations received United Nations World Youth Awards in Panama City, Panama.


The UN logo is often associated with marketing and promotional material for this event. It features a projection of a world map (less Antarctica) centered on the North Pole, enclosed by olive branches. The olive branches symbolize peace and the world map represents all the people of the world. It has been featured in black against a white background.

• The aim of International Youth Day

• The aim of International Youth Day is to endorse consciousness, particularly among youth. The World Programme of Action for Youth is started before 2000. The World Programme of Action wants to achievement in 10 main fields.

• The 10 fields are starvation, poverty, education, employment, health, drug exploitation, childhood felony, recreation events, Child and young women, Environment. The International Youth Day suggests that regional, countrywide and worldwide implements the Programme.

• The activities of International Youth Day:

• The United Nations marked out the youth, the age between 15 to 24 years. This is one sixth of the global populace. The youth will develop the countries to increase preciously in 21st century in all sides.

• Many activities and events that take place around the world on International Youth Day promote the benefits that young people bring into the world. Many countries participate in this global event, which may include youth conferences on issues such as education and employment. Other activities include concerts promoting the world’s youth, as well as various sporting events, parades and mobile exhibitions that showcase young people’s achievements.

• The ideas of International Youth Day:

• The Vienna and Austria youth established World Youth Form. The Form was proposed the idea for International Youth Day in 1991. The World Youth Forum recommended that to be declared an International Youth Day for fund-raising and promotional purposes. The Form supports the ‘United Nations Youth Fund’ in affiliation with youth associations.

•In 12th August 1998, The Government of Portugal, acknowledged that as the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth was adopted International Youth Day, collaboration with the United Nations. This is the 54th symposium of the General Assembly. In 17the Dec 1999, The Government gives the right “Policies and programmes involving youth”.

youth are healthy, physically and emotionally, yet one in every four to five youth in the general population meet criteria for a lifetime mental disorder that is associated with severe role impairment and/or distress (11.2 percent with mood disorders, 8.3 percent with anxiety disorders, and 9.6 percent behavior disorders).1 A national and international literature review found that an average of 17 percent of young people experience an emotional, mental, or behavioral disorder. Substance abuse or dependence was the most commonly diagnosed group for young people, followed by anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.2 The rate of serious mental illness was higher for 18 to 25 year olds (7.4 percent) in 2008 than for any other age group over 18.3 In addition, the onset for 50 percent of adult mental health disorders occurs by age 14, and for 75 percent of adults by age 24.4

Depression and Suicide

In 2008, 8.1 percent of youth ages 12 to 17 and 8.7 percent of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 had at least one depressive episode. In addition, six percent of 12- to 17-year-olds and 5.4 percent of 18- to 25-year-olds had at least one major depressive episode with severe impairment.5 Suicide is the third leading cause of death for youth between the ages of 10 and 24, resulting in 4,513 deaths in 2008.6 Further, in a survey of private and public high school students,

•13.8 percent reported that they had seriously considered attempting suicide;

•10.9 percent had made a plan for how they would attempt suicide;

•6.3 percent reported that they had attempted suicide one or more times within the past year; and

•1.9 percent had made a suicide attempt that resulted in an injury, poisoning, or an overdose that had to be treated by a doctor or nurse.7

Youth at Higher Risk for Mental Illness

Youth from low-income households are at increased risk for mental health disorders:

•Twenty-one percent of low-income children and youth ages 6 to 17 have mental health disorders.10

•Fifty-seven percent of these low-income children and youth come from households with incomes at or below the federal poverty level.11

Youth involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems are at even higher risk for having a mental health disorder:

•Fifty percent of children and youth in the child welfare system have mental health disorders.12

•Sixty-seven to seventy percent of youth in the juvenile justice system have a diagnosable mental health disorder.13

•The risk for mental health problems, especially traumatic stress, is greatly increased for children who are living in foster care as a result of abuse and neglect. Children often suffer from traumatic stress after experiencing or witnessing the injury or death of someone else, or otherwise feeling seriously threatened.14

Youth of color experience disparities in prevalence and treatment for mental health issues:

•Eighty-eight percent of Latino children and youth have unmet mental health needs, compared to 77 percent for African-Americans and 76 percent for white children and youth.15

•Thirty-one percent of white children and youth receive mental health services compared to thirteen percent of children of color.16

•Twenty percent of female Latino high school students seriously considered attempting suicide and 15.4 percent made a suicide plan, compared to 16.1 percent of white female high school students who considered it and 12.3 percent who made a suicide plan.17

Youth and Mental Health Issues

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Office of Applied Studies provides national estimates on mental health problems including a section targeted specifically to youth mental health issues. The latest available data was released in 2010.

Adolescent Mental Health

The Office of Adolescent Health provides information on a range of topics including mental health. You can review national level data as well as state specific information. In addition there is information on mental health disorders, access to care, and positive mental health and resilience.

Youth Suicide

Suicide is a serious public health problem. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on youth suicide, risk factors, and prevalence data as a subsection of their information on suicide prevention. The information on suicide prevention includes definition, data and statistics, risk and protective factors, prevention methods, and additional resources and links to more information.

Mental Health Statistics

the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration released Mental Health, United States, 2010, the latest in a series of publications issued biannually since 1980. This report includes mental health statistics at the national and state levels from 35 different data sources.

In Message for International Youth Day, Secretary-General Applauds Young People’s Proactive Measures, Fresh Ideas in Finding Solutions to Global Challenge

UN Secretary General


Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for the International Day of Youth, observed on 12 August:

Emerging threats, violent extremism, shifting political conditions, economic turmoil and social transformations are combining to heighten the challenges facing the world’s young people.No one knows better than them the issues at stake or the best way to respond.That is why I am calling on young people to speak out and I am urging leaders to listen.

As the world changes with unprecedented speed, young people are proving to be invaluable partners who can advance meaningful solutions.Youth movements and student groups are challenging traditional power structures and advocating a new social contract between States and societies.Young leaders have contributed fresh ideas, taken proactive measures and mobilized through social media as never before.

I applaud the millions of young people who are protesting for rights and participation, addressing staggering levels of youth unemployment, raising their voices against injustice and advocating global action for people and the planet.

In this landmark year, as leaders prepare to adopt a bold new vision for sustainable development, the engagement of youth is more valuable than ever.At this critical moment in history, I call on young people to demand and foster the dramatic progress so urgently needed in our world.

Volunteerism is an ideal way to improve society and it is open to virtually everyone.Youth can also join forces with the United Nations as we move from forging the new sustainable development goals to implementing them.That spirit of action is embodied in the theme of this International Day: “Youth and Civic Engagement”.I stand with the world’s young people in calling for measures to secure human rights, economic progress, environmental stewardship and social inclusion.

This year marks the seventieth anniversary of the United Nations Charter and the twentieth anniversary of the World Programmer of Action for Youth.In support of their aims, my Youth Envoy is helping to mobilize this largest generation of young people in history.As he says, youth engagement can help turn the world we want into the world we deserve.Let us all support young people in creating a future where our planet is protected and all people live in a new world.

For further information email to azadehhassan@yahoo.co.com, call Dr Azadeh Live health show every Tuesday from 6-7 pm, text to 002207774469/3774469

Author DR AZADEH Senior Lecturer at the University of the Gambia, Senior Consultant in Obstetrics &Gynaecology.