Zurich’s foundation has entered a three-year partnership with UNICEF to promote mental well-being among young people worldwide through a communication campaign.
According to Zurich, an estimated one in seven adolescents aged between 10 and 19 lives with a diagnosed mental disorder. While adolescence can be a period of heightened risk for developing mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression, it is also a critical time of life for establishing healthy behaviour patterns and social and emotional learning that can bring life-long benefits.
The partnership between Z Zurich Foundation and UNICEF aims to benefit 400,000 adolescents and 150,000 caregivers in seven countries by equipping them with information, skills, and strategies on caring for their and others’ mental well-being.
The Z Zurich Foundation will also support a global communication campaign that aims to reach 30 million people and promote positive conversations and connections that increase awareness, knowledge, and action around mental well-being.
Commenting on the partnership, Z Zurich Foundation chair Gary Shaughnessy said: “Today, we are launching a global movement that envisions a world where every young person is supported to achieve positive mental well-being. This is an increasing and vital challenge. Working together, we can turn the tide and help many young people realize their potential. Join us.”
Zurich claims that promoting mental well-being among young people and caregivers is crucial to reducing the rising burden of mental disorders.
However, despite growing awareness about the negative effects and financial costs of mental health conditions on lives and communities, the insurer explained that wide investment gaps persist, particularly for mental health promotion and prevention programs.
As a result, the partnership seeks to build a coalition of public and private sector leaders who are willing to take action to promote the positive mental well-being of young people, including scaling up the programs piloted through the partnership, and supporting global and local advocacy on the importance of investing in mental health promotion and prevention for adolescents.
Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, the deputy executive director for partnerships at UNICEF, said: “Positive mental health helps us to think, learn, and build our lives. But for too many young people, psychosocial distress is disrupting their daily lives, negatively impacting their health, and preventing them from thriving.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has only added to the pressures on young people and their families, putting the mental health of a whole generation at risk. With this partnership, we are kick-starting an urgent response to a crisis that the world cannot afford to leave overlooked and underfunded.”
The global campaign supported by the partnership will launch in early October 2021, in the run-up to World Mental Health Day. The programs supported by the partnership will start in Vietnam, Mexico, Indonesia, Nepal, Colombia, Ecuador, and the Maldives.