The 10 October 2018 is marked as the International Day for Mental Health by the World Health Organisation. In our changing world, young people and those within the early years of adulthood, experience many rapid changes such as starting university or a new job. These changes can create stress which in turn could lead to mental illnesses arising. The increasing use of social media whilst has many benefits, can also contribute to this additional stress for many individuals. Statistics reveal that half of all mental illnesses start by the age of 14 with depression being the third leading cause of mental illnesses.

Hence, there is now an urgency to help young people at risk of developing mental illnesses earlier on. More awareness and understanding is significantly needed to detect early warning signs and symptoms of mental illness. Parents and teachers can play a crucial role in building life skills for children and adolescents to enable them to be better equipped to cope with the challenges they may face in and outside of school premises. Therefore, this draws attention to the need for psychosocial support in schools and communities, training for health workers as well as more investments by governments for programmes which help raise awareness among young people on how to care for their mental wellbeing which is the focus on this year’s World Mental Health Day.

Supporting this World Mental Health Day by raising awareness on the growing issue of mental wellbeing, ETUCE highlights that education institutions as learning environments of students need to be decent workplaces, offering mental health assistance. ETUCE European Director, Susan Flocken reiterates this point stating that: “Risk assessment and prevention in education are vital to ensure that all teachers and educators are covered with the highest occupational health and safety standards”.

For more information on the EU social-dialogue project on ‘decent and healthy workplaces in education’ please click here.

For more information on the OiRA project please click here.