Young People & Mental Health in a Changing World

As a result of mass violence, war and natural and man-made disasters, young people are in more peril than ever before…

Children around the world are witnessing and experiencing violence and disaster on a regular basis and can be affected by these events, with the consequences lasting a lifetime.

“Eighteen million children are being raised in the chaos of war. In the past ten years, as a result of armed conflict, over 2 million children have been killed, 6 million have been disabled, 20 million are homeless, and more than 1 million have become separated from their caregivers.”- Robert T. Muller, Ph.D., C.Psych.

And, according to the World Federation for Mental Health, 1 in 5 young people suffers from a mental illness. Almost half (45%) of the global burden of disease for young people is attributable to mental disorders.

Too often, in the chaos of mass crisis, the needs of children go ignored.

Children’s ability to grow into resilient adults who can contribute to the well-being of their families and communities depends on comprehensive mental and emotional support.

International Medical Corps works to ensure that all children and youth — no matter their circumstances — receive the care they need to help them recover, regain strength and reach their full potential.

Early detection of a child experiencing psychological difficulties, cognitive impairments or protection issues is crucial for a good outcome.

In Jordan, we engage children and youth with mental health concerns in structured activities that aim to relieve their concerns and improve their psychological and social wellbeing.

To further support children and youth struggling with psychological problems caused by traumatic experiences, we establish child and adolescent friendly spaces that provide young people with learning opportunities, life skills training and psychosocial support services. In Jordan, we run three Makani (“my space” in Arabic) Centers where refugees and vulnerable families can access case management services and children can attend organized recreational and therapeutic activities.

In Mexico, our youth-led community engagement project engages students in filmmaking, mural arts and other forms of storytelling that engage older adults in documenting historical community practices, especially those around resilience and coping strategies.

In Japan, with hundreds of children displaced following Typhoon Jongdari, International Medical Corps provided support to create safe and friendly spaces for girls and boys, including activities such as storytelling and games, helping children recover.

Across the world, our projects for children and youth are designed to build key life skills for dealing with difficult situations and developing friendships, and to encourage youth to engage in communities.

From Jordan to Mexico to Japan, during our 34 years as a global first responder, International Medical Corps has been a global leader in addressing mental health care — both during emergencies and well after the headlines fade. Click here and learn more about our mental health and psychosocial support work worldwide.

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