Press Releases

 

SG/SM/8919
OBV/379

7 October 2003

GOVERNMENTS MUST ENSURE ADEQUATE ATTENTION FOR
SPECIAL NEEDS OF YOUNG PEOPLE, SECRETARY-GENERAL
SAYS IN WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY MESSAGE

NEW YORK, 6 October (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the message of Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the occasion of World Mental Health Day, 10 October:

This year’s Mental Health Day focuses on the special needs of some of the world’s most vulnerable individuals -- children and adolescents with mental, emotional and behavioural disorders.

The burdens associated with these disorders are increasingly understood as a threat to the healthy development and well-being of children and adolescents worldwide.  These young people -- who are already so deeply vulnerable -- may be subjected to stigma and discrimination; they may receive inadequate care; they may not have adequate opportunities for education; they may never get the chance to build the future which they, like all young people, deserve.

Developing and developed countries alike have a duty to do all they can to ease these burdens, by improving diagnosis, treatment, public awareness and education.  Governments must live up to their obligation under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child -- the most widely ratified international legal instrument in history -- to ensure “the development of the child’s personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential”. 

On this World Mental Health Day, let us rededicate ourselves to translating into reality the rights of children as enshrined in the Convention.  Let us vow to give the mental health of young people all the attention it deserves.

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