Delegate: Laura John (22 years)
67. Ms. John (Australia), speaking as a youth delegate, said that, although the challenges of poverty, conflict and discrimination could not be underestimated, mental illness was frequently invisible in society. Yet, according to the World Health Organization, 1 in 5 young people experienced mental health problems; and suicide was the second leading cause of death globally among persons between 15 and 29 years of age and the leading cause of death in Australia among persons aged 16 to 24. While International Youth Day had been observed in August 2014 under the theme of “Youth and Mental Health”,indicating broader recognition of the issue by the international community, mental health needed to be mainstreamed into broader health frameworks at the international, regional and national levels, on the understanding that good mental health was fundamental to ensuring overall health and the full political, social and economic participation of people in society.
68. Australia was supporting its regional neighbours in improving mental health education and services through a national development assistance programme. At the national level, it was providing counselling, education and employment services to over 45,000 young people each year and planned to expand the programme to cover 80,000 young people annually. It was introducing innovative approaches to mental health, including online support services. While treatment was essential, prevention was the best investment and health education the strongest tool. All young people needed to be taught about mental health; the sharing of experiences was crucial to raising awareness and combating stigma. Australia urged Member States to take advantage of the opportunity presented by World Mental Health Day in October2014 to increase awareness of that issue.
UN Doc.: A/C.3/69/SR.1