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Young People Will Transform Global Mental Health: A call to prioritise global action on mental health for young people (Policy brief)

The world's population is young: up to 42 percent of all people are under the age of 25. M​ental ill-health is the leading cause of disability in young people aged 10 to 24 years with half of all mental health conditions beginning by the age of 14 and three-quarters by mid-20s. Yet, young people are least likely to access mental health services due to underdetection, lack of awareness and help-seeking, and insufficient prioritization in policy frameworks. 

With the global cost of mental health conditions in 2010 estimated at US$ 2.5 trillion and surging to US$ 6.0 trillion by 2030, ​the economic burden of mental health conditions is comparable to that of cardiovascular diseases and higher than that of cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes​. Globally, there is a significant lack of funding and accessibility of mental health services for children and young people. This translates into poorer mental health outcomes, higher rates of youth unemployment and dependency on welfare benefits and contact with the criminal justice system. 

Immediate global action is needed to better prioritize the needs of young people by protecting their mental health with public policy frameworks and economic development.

Published 2019-06-21