Today marks World Mental Health Day 2022, the international day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma. Celebrated since 1992, the theme for this year’s special day, set by the World Federation for Mental Health, is “Make mental health and wellbeing for all a global priority”.
It’s really important for us that when we say make it a priority for all, we really mean all. Concerns about their mental health was the main reason that children and young people made contact with child helplines last year. Worldwide, our child helpline members responded to over 800,000 counselling contacts on issues relating to mental health, and this represents almost 1 in every 3 children or young people who received some form of counselling.
Furthermore, around one in every four of these contacts relating to mental health were from children or young people who wanted to discuss self-destructive tendencies, such as suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts, or self-harming.
Suicide is one of the leading causes of death among adolescents, especially those between the ages of 15 and 19. Globally, it is the third leading cause of death for girls, and the fourth leading cause of death for boys.
Suicide risk is an important concern in most regions around the world. Having suicidal thoughts, or attempting suicide, was the main reason for contacting child helplines due to mental health concerns in the Americas & The Caribbean region, and the second main reason for mental health contacts in Asia-Pacific and Europe.
Child helplines can be literal lifelines for children and young people experiencing suicidal tendencies, as they provide immediate support, often around the clock.
Every year, we collect data from our child helpline members about the contacts they receive from children and young people, and publish this data in our series of “Voices of Children & Young People” reports. Our latest publication looks at the data collected from child helplines around the world for the year 2021.
We’ve taken the data relating to mental health concerns and produced a special factsheet, presenting everything on a single page. We welcome you to use this information in any way that can help to raise awareness about the mental health concerns being faced by children and young people on a daily basis.
If you’re a child or young person who’s concerned about your mental health (or a friend, parent, caregiver or teacher of a child or young person in this situation), then please remember: there is always somebody ready to listen, and somebody who is ready and able to help.
Whether it’s because you’re feeling moody or fearful and anxious about something, if you have concerns about yourself that you need to share, and especially if you’re self-harming or having suicidal thoughts, please reach out to a child helpline today.