The innovative Swiss solution for children's mental health

Thus the Federal Commission for Children and Youth calls for strong and lasting intervention in favor of young people with mental problems

Mental health: a strong and lasting intervention is needed in favor of young people with mental problems
Between 13 and 20 percent of children and young people in Switzerland suffer from a full-blown disorder, while one in four shows symptoms of mental problems

The mental health of children and young people is a public health issue that deserves a rapid yet sustained response to prevent certain repercussions.

One of the priorities in the short term is to improve the provision of care in this area.

To ensure long-term effects, structural measures, focusing on living conditions and combating various forms of discrimination, are essential.

Furthermore, prevention must be strengthened and early detection and intervention facilitated.

In its latest position, the Federal Commission for Children and Youth (Eidgenössische Kommission für Kinder- und Jugendfragen, EKKJ, in German, or Commission Fédérale Pour l'Enfance et la jeunesse, CFEJ, in French) of the Swiss Confederation formulates a series of recommendations based on the latest scientific knowledge on the subject.

The right of minors to enjoy the best possible state of health, recognized by Article 24 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, also includes mental health.

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Mental health: the key visual of the Federal Commission for Children and Youth of Switzerland
The key visual of the Federal Commission for Children and Youth of Switzerland

A full-blown disorder in between 13 and 20 percent of kids

Yet, between 13 and 20 percent of children and young people suffer from a full-blown disorder, while one in four shows symptoms of mental problems.

Girls and people with experiences of discrimination are particularly affected.

Disorders of this kind can have academic consequences, hinder professional prospects and compromise social relationships.

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Mental health: a strong and lasting intervention is needed in favor of young people with mental problems
The social and health context must be considered in general, as well as the crisis situation on a climatic and geopolitical level, which accentuate the appearance of mental disorders in the weakest

Multifactorial causes, dependent on social, health, climate and geopolitical contexts

In addition to the vulnerability factors linked to the delicate phase of development in which children and young people find themselves, the social and health context must also be considered, as well as the climate and geopolitical crisis situation, which largely contribute to accentuating the appearance of disorders psychic.

The research highlights, in particular, the influence on mental health of factors such as situations of poverty, working conditions and level of qualification, as well as traumatic experiences linked to domestic violence, bullying, social exclusion or discrimination.

To these must be added the stress linked to the multiple current crises and the social and performance pressure that children and young people experience.

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A wide range of measures are needed to imagine a long-term investment

Better access to an adequate and low-threshold range of care from the onset of the first symptoms is an absolute priority nowadays.

However, this effort must be accompanied by monitoring that allows for the availability of reliable data, measures to prevent and promote mental health from early childhood as well as measures aimed at reducing stigmatisation.

Furthermore, the EKKJ-CFEJ-CFIG recommends acting on the level of social conditions by promoting social ties and belonging to a group, the prevention of bullying and all forms of discrimination, as well as the reduction of stress factors related to performance or to external anxiety-provoking events.

Taking all these measures into consideration represents a long-term investment in public health.

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The logo of the U24 Future Council (in German)
The logo of the U24 Future Council (in German)

Participation of those directly interested in the individual stages thanks to the U24 Future Council

The example of the U24 Future Council (online in German at https://zukunfts-rat.ch/, in French on https://conseilfutur.ch/ and in Italian above https://consigliofuturo.ch) has shown that it is possible to make young people's voices heard on the topic of mental health.

The recommendations that the latter formulated correspond to the findings of the CFIG, also focusing on better data collection, the accessibility of the offer and the strengthening of prevention and awareness in the various life contexts.

The EKKJ-CFEJ-CFIG recommends developing, implementing and evaluating the offer with the active participation of young people, in order to ensure that it is adapted to their lifestyles and real needs.

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Mental health: a strong and lasting intervention is needed in favor of young people with mental problems
Attention should be given to poverty, working conditions and skill levels, as well as traumatic experiences of domestic violence, bullying, social exclusion or discrimination