Kyrgyz Teens in Crisis Need More Mental Health Support

Ala-Too Square in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan; August 1, 2010. Image: twiga269 ॐ FEMEN/Creative Commons License via Flickr
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Ala-Too Square in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan; August 1, 2010. Image: twiga269 ॐ FEMEN/Creative Commons License via Flickr

Today there are more adolescents in the world than ever before: 1 in 6 of the world’s population. Nearly 90% of these adolescents live in low- and middle-income countries.

More than half of the people in Kyrgyzstan, a post-Soviet, landlocked country in the heart of Central Asia, are currently under 25 years old. Adolescents make up one fifth of the population.

Adolescent suicide has become a major problem, compounded by widespread lockdowns and school closures. Lacking adolescent-friendly services and stigmatization of this issue, teenagers are left to cope on their own. Given that nearly 40% of adult mental health conditions find their onset in adolescence, it is critical that public health professionals pay greater attention to this challenge. It requires a holistic and a whole-person approach to nurturing adolescents, providing appropriate leadership and empowerment. Besides adolescents’ right to life, health and protection, there are benefits of investing in adolescent health as it creates dividends for population health, peace and development.

Venera Urbaeva is a consultant in the field of public health and child protection. She holds a Master of Public Health from UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and a Masters in International Law and Human Rights from UN University for Peace. Venera is a Rotary Peace Fellow alumni.


 

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