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The State of the World’s Children Report launch

5 October - 6 October

Free

Dear colleagues and partners,

Every year, UNICEF releases its flagship The State of the World’s Children global report, examining a key issue affecting children. These have ranged from children with disabilities, conflict and war, child labour, urbanization, early childhood development, and much more, making it the most comprehensive analysis of global trends that impact children.

This year, for the first time in UNICEF’s history, The State of the World’s Children will focus on child and adolescent mental health and well-being, reflecting a priority focus on mental health across UNICEF’s global programming, advocacy and communications. Growing awareness about the importance of mental health, the impact of COVID-19, and increased evidence on the value of optimizing mental health and developmental trajectories for children and adolescents, have combined to create fresh momentum and urgency around mental health of children, youth and caregivers.

The State of the World’s Children 2021 will present new data and trends on mental health, as well as perspectives from young people, and will help to strengthen UNICEF’s policy outreach and targeted advocacy at global, regional and national levels, as well as drive action and investment to protect and promote the mental health, well-being and development of children, young people, and their families.
The State of the World’s Children 2021 report will be available here on October 5th 00/01 GMT.

Key themes will include:

  • Mental health is central to children’s health and overall well-being: As Brock Chisholm, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) first Director-General, stated, “Without mental health there can be no true physical health.”
  • Mental health is a continuum: Everyone sits somewhere on the mental health continuum, and many, if not most, people move along it at some stage – from experiencing good mental health to anything from short-term distress to long-term disabling conditions.
  • Mental health must be understood along the life course: Every stage of life – from the period around pregnancy, to early childhood and the first decade, and on to adolescence and the second decade – offers unique moments when mental health can be supported and when it may be at risk.
  • Social determinants help shape mental health outcomes: Biology and genetics play a role in determining mental health, but so too do protective and risk factors in the child’s family, in school, in the community, and across society. Understanding these is key to developing policy approaches.
  • COVID-19: The report will address evidence for the mental health impact of COVID-19, as well as challenges in humanitarian situations and emergencies.
  • Mental health requires a pyramid of interventions: A range of multi-sectoral services and institutions are needed to promote good mental health for every child, protect vulnerable children, and care for children facing the greatest challenges. Launch plans

We will launch the report on 5th October at the Ministerial Summit on Mental Health organized by the French Government in Paris, alongside a series of ‘satellite’ launch events worldwide and a new mental health communications campaign.

On 5 and 6 October 2021, the French Minister for Solidarity and Health, Olivier Véran, and the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, will host the “Mind Our Rights, Now!” Global Mental Health Summit in Paris. The summit will be attended by high-level policy makers, international organizations, health professionals, experts and civil society actors, in addition to foundations and renowned academics, all of whom aim to strengthen international efforts that support mental health, promote respect for rights and foster worldwide innovative experiences. The summit aims to sustain the momentum generated by the International Conference on Mental Health hosted by the Netherlands in October 2019, and Ministerial MH Summit in the UK before it.

Ten thematic areas have been selected to advance the objectives of the summit and are a core part of the programme. UNICEF is co-leading the workstream focusing on Children and Adolescents, with WHO and War Child, aiming to develop a set of recommendations for mental health and psychosocial support for children, adolescents, and families, which will align closely with the SOWC report. The SOWC launch is officially part of the programme on the 5th October.

The global launch will initiate a series of regional and national events around the world, involving UNICEF offices and key partners, in which we aim to spark a global conversation about child and adolescent mental health and wellbeing. ‘Satellite’ events are being explored in strategic locations across Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, as well as the UAE, China and the US.

UNICEF will accompany the report launch with our new public engagement campaign, Mental Health #OnMyMind, which will provide a unifying creative concept and communications framework for all UNICEF offices and partners in support our global mental health advocacy strategy objectives over the next four years. A social media pack is available here.

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Mental Health, please visit ngomentalhealth.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Children’s Rights, please visit childrightsny.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Intergenerational Solidarity, please email the vice chair at susanneseperson@gmail.com.