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A youthful outlook on mental health crisis in the Americas

Washington, Jul 17 (Prensa Latina) The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) on Monday unfolded the Youth Voices contest in which teenagers and youngsters from 10 to 24 years old will be able to address the mental health crisis in the Americas.

According to the organization, this event aims at gathering their opinions on the issue reflected in various artistic media such as painting, drawing, illustration, comics, poetry, stories, videos and songs.

The call pursues to improve mental health care for adolescents and youngsters through innovative and effective solutions.

“The contest’s goal is to encourage the active participation of youth and teenagers in the field of mental health, providing a space where their voices and perspectives are heard,” explained Dr. Sonja Caffe, PAHO’s regional adolescent health advisor.

She added such action will allow them to design strategies that address the needs of this demographic group in a differentiated manner.

Mental health problems in the young population can have negative consequences in different aspects such as interpersonal relationships, school performance and long-term work productivity, according to the A New Agenda for Mental Health in the Americas’ briefing of PAHO.

Experts pointed out that self-injury is the third leading cause of adolescent mortality in the region.

They further attached importance to the fact that countries invest in promoting and preventing mental health 24/7, taking into account the crisis triggered by Covid-19 pandemic, which worsened the risk factors in psychological welfare, particularly among youngsters.

The competition is open to adolescents and youngsters from all countries in the Americas region.

The winning proposals will be announced on the PAHO website and will receive cash prizes ranging from U.S. $150 to U.S. $500. The deadline for submission of materials is August 17, 2023.

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