United Nations earmarked August 12 as International Youth Day. This year’s theme “Youth and Mental Health” for this special day follows the slogan ‘Mental Health Matters’. Youth with mental health conditions do experience discrimination that leads to exclusion. Often this discourages them to seek help, more so for fear of being ‘labeled’ negatively.
Efforts are on to overcome such stigma and ensure that young people with issues can lead healthy lives free of isolation or shame. They are to be encouraged to openly seek the services and support available. HERD Foundation is all set to be part of such efforts. Our focus has always been for youth development and this input will be promoted through approaches that address challenges faced by young people.
HERD Foundation wants to reach out to youth with mental health issues and others to tackle stigma and promote social inclusion of all young people to achieve their aspirations and goals. International Youth Day is a time to reinforce our pledge to bring youth issues to the attention of all and celebrate the potential of youth as promising partners in today’s global society.
This annual celebration of role of young women and men as essential partners in change, sees HERD Foundation take on opportunities to raise awareness of the challenges and hardships facing the youth. We have promoted sports events as a way to assist the youth in overcoming limitations. The thematic campaign has encouraged the general public to understand the needs of young people. We need to also implement policies to help them overcome the challenges they face and to get young people into decision-making processes.
Nearly half of all people in the world today are under the age of 25. Effectively addressing the special needs of youth is a critical challenge for the future. Especially the youth between ages 15 – 24 make up for over one sixth of the world’s population. However they are seldom recognized as a distinct group for the critical role will play in shaping the future. Add to this the fact that countless youth lack education, skills and job training, employment opportunities, and health services. This effectively limits their future at a very early age.
HERD Foundation reacts to such apathy by first including the youth in societal context as important assets for the economic, political, and social life of their communities.