A Global Framework for Youth Mental Health

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Author(s): World Economic Forum

  • Vivienne Browne – Policy and Government Relations Lead, Orygen
  • Ella Gow – Youth Engagement Facilitator, Orygen
  • Craig Hodges – Global Project Lead, Orygen Project Fellow, World Economic Forum
  • Eóin Killackey – Academic Lead, Global Youth Mental Health Framework Project, Professor of Functional Recovery in Youth Mental Health, Orygen and Centre for Youth Mental Health, University of Melbourne, Australia
  • Peter VarnumLead – Global Mental Health, World Economic Forum

Published: May 27, 2020

Report Intro/Brief:
“Mental ill-health represents a major threat to the health, survival and the future potential of young people around the world. The evidence for this is to be found within the pages of this landmark resource: A Global Framework for Youth Mental Health, the central pillar of a novel joint venture between the World Economic Forum and Orygen, Australia’s globally unique translational youth mental health research and care organization.

This threat has been magnified through the lens of the COVID-19 disaster, which has cast a pall over the lives and vocational and economic futures of young people all over the world. The massive efforts of the global community to save as many lives as possible during the pandemic has paradoxically resulted in an immediate and serious decline in mental health and well-being for many of us, while the economic recession that is likely to follow will impact more severely on the lives, security and futures of young people, who already bear the main burden of mental ill-health.

Mental illness is the number one threat to the health, wellbeing and productivity of young people, with 75% of mental disorders having an onset before the age of 25. More than 50% of young people will have experienced at least one period of mental ill-health by the age of 25. This has substantial consequences for individuals, their families and communities, as well as local, national and global economies…

This framework was developed using a combination of evidence review and extensive consultations with youth mental health stakeholders – namely, young people and their families, as well as the service providers and planners, clinicians, non-government organizations (NGOs), government and researchers who are dedicated to system development and reform to better meet the mental health needs of young people. The resultant Global Youth Mental Health framework consists of eight principles, underpinned by a series of practices, to guide local implementation of youth mental healthcare in any resource setting or country.

These eight principles are:

  1. Rapid, easy and affordable access
  2. Youth-specific care
  3. Awareness, engagement and integration
  4. Early intervention
  5. Youth partnership
  6. Family engagement and support
  7. Continuous improvement
  8. Prevention.”

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