Five organizations – Association Romande CIAO, the Committee for UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein, Pro Juventute, the Swiss Society for Public Health and the Swiss National Youth Council – joined forces today at the concluding activities of the Zukunftsrat U24 to tackle the issue of young people’s mental health.
On May 24, 2023, a symposium on the topic “Causes of and solutions to the increase in mental health problems among young people” was held in Bern. The symposium was organized and developed in collaboration with CIAO, UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein, Pro Juventute, the Swiss Society for Public Health and the Swiss National Youth Council together with key youth associations in Switzerland. It led to important recommendations in the areas of prevention, sensitization, financing and care.
Parallel to this, the Swiss Society for the Common Good and the Swiss UNESCO Commission tasked Pro Futuris with organizing a citizens’ council called the “Zukunftsrat U24” for young people between the ages of 16 and 24. Over three weekends between September and November 2023, it prepared recommendations for action (in German) that were addressed to policymakers, administration and society and giving the youth of Switzerland another strong political voice in the area of mental health.
Green light for implementation
It is essential that the recommendations drawn up by the two committees in 2023 are followed up in 2024 and beyond. In addition to improving the mental health of children, teenagers and young adults in Switzerland, it is also important that they be shown appreciation for their active involvement in its development with the necessary importance attached to their participation. The organizations named here have signed a pledge today to initiate the systematic development and implementation of the recommendations for action and put necessary pressure on decision-makers, thus continuing in 2024 the collaboration initiated at the symposium for mental health.
However, this should not be done without the involvement of teenagers and young adults, and thus engaged young people will be brought into both in the planning phase and implementation of the planned alliance.
The coalition of these organizations is an important signal to numerous teenagers and young adults that their involvement is valued, and is a critical step in improving the mental health of young people in the long term.
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