Africa

Access to mental health and psychosocial support services remains unequal for children and adolescents in Africa, warn UNICEF and WHO

Published

on

Access to mental health and psychosocial support services remains unequal for children and adolescents in Africa, warn UNICEF and WHO

It’s time to make a difference and ensure children grow up to adulthood without the potentially devastating and lifelong impacts of unresolved mental health issues.

BRAZZAVILLE, Congo (Republic of), October 10, 2021 / APO Group / –

At least one in seven children in sub-Saharan Africa experiences significant psychological difficulties. As the world celebrates World Mental Health Day, UNICEF and WHO are highlighting the need to increase investment and access to mental health prevention and intervention services on the continent.

Children and adolescents are always at risk of developing mental health problems, especially vulnerable children facing poverty, discrimination and violence. Lack of access to basic social, health and education services, combined with vast structural inequalities, are all known to exacerbate the risks of mental illness.

The effects of climate change, compounded by high rates of HIV infection, teenage pregnancies and humanitarian emergencies, also pose continuing threats to the mental well-being of children and adolescents in Africa. Research shows that 50 percent of mental health problems start at age 14 and 75 percent in their mid-twenties.

“There is an urgent need to tackle the mental health of children and adolescents in Africa. Over the years, millions of young people have been exposed to challenges that most adults would find very difficult to overcome, often having to deal with the psychological impacts on their own. Our systems are still failing them, ”said Mohamed M. Fall, UNICEF regional director for Eastern and Southern Africa.

In order to respond to this growing crisis, UNICEF and WHO have embarked on a joint 10-year program on mental health and psychosocial well-being and the development of children and adolescents in Africa. Signed in 2020, this decade-long collaborative effort works with local governments to strengthen mental health and psychosocial support systems for children, adolescents and their caregivers. It would also help mainstream mental health into national preparedness efforts and remove any stigma that might accompany mental health issues.

Investment in mental health remains extremely low in Africa, with public spending below one US dollar per capita. We simply cannot afford to let millions of children in need of care go unaided, ”said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “It’s time to make a difference and ensure that children grow up to adulthood without the potentially devastating and lifelong effects of unresolved mental health issues. “

COVID-19 has further shone the spotlight on global inequalities, including mental health care. The well-documented statistics regarding vaccine availability in Africa in relation to high-income settings are a stark reminder.

Children in Africa have been exposed to even greater threats with the closure of schools, increased exposure to armed conflict and the lack of opportunities to play and socialize with their peers. Long-term closures have reportedly increased early marriages, teenage pregnancies, and sexual and domestic violence against children – especially girls.

Despite this high burden, the availability and quality of mental health services for children and adolescents in Africa is sorely lacking. Even in countries where there are clinical psychologists and psychiatrists specializing in children and adolescents, there is on average only 1 in 4 million inhabitants, with health and social service professionals qualified in mental health often concentrated. in large cities, inaccessible to most of the population at risk.

Preventive measures remain essential, including the promotion of healthy lifestyles, including exercise and good nutrition, and protection against harmful practices and violence, including strengthening communication and conflict resolution skills.

Updated and costed child and adolescent mental health policies do not exist in many African countries. Out of 39 countries that responded to ATLAS on Mental Health 2019, 11 countries reported having stand-alone child and adolescent mental health policies and / or strategies. Nine of the 39 responding countries reported having inpatient services for children and adolescents, while 12 reported having outpatient services for children and adolescents. Only 5 of the 39 responding countries had community mental health services for children and adolescents

The most recent data indicates that, on average, African ministries of health allocate around 90 US cents per capita for mental health, up from 10 US cents compared to the 2016 report. This is often attributed to large psychiatric institutions, in large cities, with only about 15 percent of them reaching primary and community health levels.

“COVID and response measures have created an environment of uncertainty, isolation and anxiety. The number of children targeted for mental health and psychosocial support in West and Central Africa since the pre-Covid period has almost doubled (87%), from just under 1.1 million in 2019 to nearly 2 million in 2021. Unfortunately, these estimates are probably only part of the real need. Long-term investments in child and adolescent mental health care in Africa are needed to transform recent donor support into sustainable services, ”said Marie-Pierre Poirier, UNICEF Regional Director for Africa. West and Central.

“We urge Member States and regional bodies to prioritize and commit to investing more in child and youth mental health across Africa. It is an essential part of our care for children, ”she added.

Investing in children’s health and mental health in Africa now will literally pay off in the future. Latest UNICEF State of the World’s Children Report Finds School-Based Interventions for Anxiety, Depression and Suicide Offer a Return of $ 21.5 to $ 1 Over 80 Years . The biggest results, according to the report, were in lower-middle-income countries, with a return of $ 88.7 on every dollar invested.

Short Link: https://wp.me/pcj2iU-3CRQ

NNN

NNN: :is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor @ nnn.ng

Recent Posts

Kanye West officially changes name to Ye Flooding in South Sudan wreaks havoc on vulnerable communities Australian High Commissioner to Seychelles pays courtesy visit to Minister Radegonde Nigeria: a year later, no justice for the crackdown on #EndSARS Chinese yuan weakens against U.S dollar Afreximbank tasks Nigeria on IATF 2021 participation Oil and natural gas will help ensure a just energy transition in Kenya as President Kenyatta prepares to work closely with Biden on climate change following his visit to the White House Google faces fine of 20% of its revenue in Russian Buhari scraps DPR, PPPRA, PEF, sacks CEOs, inaugurates new agencies Umrah: Katsina govt partners travel agency NBA Africa to recognize the League’s 75 Most Memorable Moments on the Continent in Celebration of 75th Anniversary Season Bayelsa govt imposes dusk-to-dawn curfew, bans 200hp engine boats on waterways African Development Bank Group President Akinwumi Adesina assures Nigeria of Bank’s strong support to achieve food security Fintech TagPay becomes Skaleet! Renewed focus on N/Korean military after sub-launched missile test Moghalu bags Oxford Martin Visiting Fellowship Wamakko condemns killing of 43 persons in Sokoto market Another strong quake hits Crete and Turkish coastal towns Buhari to bandits: Your days are numbered, be ready for crushing defeat IATF 2021 projected to generate $40bn — Afreximbank APC gradually taking over South East – Chieftain RFI Deputy Director in charge of African languages ​​and other eminent members of the jury join the 2021 Journalism Awards in West and Central Africa We’re glad U.S is back on climate change agenda — Osinbajo Cabo Verde: African Development Bank Group awards $ 350,000 grant for technical assistance to deepen domestic capital markets North Korea fires suspected submarine-launched ballistic missile: Seoul First-of-its-kind diagnostic center opens in Uganda with life-saving equipment: GE Healthcare and AFRIPHARMA partner to serve communities Liquid Intelligent Technologies Announces New Global Asia-U.S. Internet Transit Route Through Africa US college coach, assistants fired over vaccine refusal Rosatom supports women’s health in South Africa Teach children love of God for a secured Nigeria: Bello urges mothers Vertiv Research Defines Standard Templates for Deploying Edge Infrastructure Trade volume between Nigeria, Japan worth $1bn  – Envoy Japanese Govt. earmarks $260,000 to combat piracy, kidnapping in Gulf of Guinea Minister seeks more funding to upscale investments in Agriculture Human Trafficking: NAPTIP commends EU for support Official Hospitality Packages for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar to go on sale in Nigeria Pronet Gaming adds a proprietary Popular Bets & Events module to its platform Tributes as former U.S. secretary of state dies of COVID-19 complications Nigerian troops kill 16 ISWAP fighters in Jere, recover gun trucks Again, Fred Ajudua’s lawyer seeks adjournment of $8.4m fraud trial Eid-el-Maulud: FRSC tasks motorists on patience, speed limits P&ID Scam: EFCC re-arraigns 2 British citizens Nigerian govt to regulate Mass Transit operations – Minister Nigerian govt files 7 terrorism charges against Nnamdi Kanu The positive momentum in the Central African Republic must be maintained Conditions Buhari set for Twitter to affect other social media platforms operating in Nigeria – FG JUST IN: Yahaya Bello appoints new Attah Igala Belgian police break up cocaine network, arrest 2 Court convicts man for land scam in Kaduna Zulum declares zero tolerance for thuggery in Borno