Placing Youth and Mental Health in the Spotlight - United Nations "Mental Health Matters" campaign

There are over 1.2 billion youth aged 15-24 in the world today and over 280 million of them experience a mental health condition. To raise awareness on the importance of reducing stigma surrounding youth with mental health conditions, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) has just kicked off a campaign "Mental Health Matters" in the lead-up to the International Youth Day celebrated on 12 August.

Mental-health conditions have a significant impact on the development of youth and their social and economic integration, including employability. Youth with mental health conditions can often also experience stigma and discrimination, which in turn can lead to exclusion and/or discourage people from seeking help for fear of being negatively ‘labelled’.

Efforts are needed to overcome this stigma to ensure that young people with mental health conditions can lead full and healthy lives free of isolation and unnecessary shame, and that they can openly seek the services and support they need.

August 12th will be celebrated this year with a focus on youth and mental health. In the lead-up to the day, people from across the globe are encouraged to help raise awareness on this topic by joining efforts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest using #MentalHealthMatters and #UN4Youth.

The online audience is invited to submit artwork, illustrations, videos, photos and/or stories about the positive impact that speaking out about mental health issues has had on their life or the life of a young person they may know. People are also encouraged to spread the word about the campaign and International Youth Day, and to also organize events of their own to celebrate. For this purpose, a toolkit has been developed to serve as a source of inspiration for possible actions and events (see the link provided under “related information”).

By joining the campaign, people will actively be helping in spreading the word about the importance of reducing stigma surrounding youth and mental health conditions. Selected written, photo, video and artwork entries will also be chosen to be included in UN DESA’s publication ‘Social Inclusion of Youth with Mental Health Conditions,’ which will be launched on the International Youth Day, in the poster design, as well as showcased as part of the IYD event on 12 August at UN Headquarters.

This event will bring together young people, experts, the United Nations and Members States to discuss and raise awareness on the issue of youth and mental health conditions. A panel discussion, along with performances by young artists, will explore this issue in a variety of interactive and informative ways.

For more information:

International Youth Day 2014-

Join the campaign on Facebook -

Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD)
United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA)
Secretariat Building, United Nations Headquarters, 29th Floor
New York, NY 10017