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International Youth Day

World International Youth Day 2020

Theme: “Youth Engagement for Global Action.”

In 1999, the General Assembly endorsed the recommendation made by the  World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth (Lisbon, 8-12 August 1998) that 12 August be declared International Youth Day.

International Youth Day gives an opportunity to celebrate and mainstream young peoples’ voices, actions and initiatives, as well as their meaningful, universal and equitable engagement. This year the theme for the celebration is “Youth Engagement for Global Action.”

In line with the theme of this year’s celebration emphasis is placed on youth engagement in these crucial areas of development:

  • Engagement at the local / community level;
  • Engagement at the national level (formulation of laws, policies, and their implementation); and,
  • Engagement at the global level.

The youth play a very important role in the structuring and shaping of the future. Technology has developed at such an alarming rate in the last 2 decades, that it is next to impossible to keep up with the tidal wave of development. Correspondence has come such a long way from the conventional mailing system, which used to take anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks to 2 months (in the case of sea-mail), for letters and packages to be delivered from one location to another, to almost instant delivery through email and social networking platforms. The advent of Information Technology has shattered many barriers and it has become imperative and necessary to involve the youth in planning and developing strategies for the future.

This is easier said than done and all this is only possible if our youngsters are healthy in mind and body. Today, a lot of emphasis is given on physical health and people are very conscious of their well-being and appearance. Numerous gymnasiums and related health facilities have sprouted up all over. However, this is only one side of the coin. As the first century humourist and poet Juneval (Decimus Iunius Iuvenalis) rightly said, “A healthy mind in a healthy body.” With the fitness mania that we see in the youth of today, not enough thought is given to mental health which is detrimental to the overall development of the individual.

It is a well-known fact that many mental health imbalances and complexities occur during the teenage years. Studies have shown that illnesses like schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, stress, etc., commence in the late teens or early twenties. We wonder why this is the case, as the mind is young and theoretically should have no issues. What we fail to realize is that adolescence is a period of transition from childhood to adulthood, and there are a lot of hormonal and chemical changes taking place in the body and mind of an individual during this phase. Therefore, a person may experience many strange behavioural patterns at this time in their lives. These could be extreme in nature, namely from isolation and loneliness on the one side, to mania and sporadic outbursts, on the other, which may be totally strange and deviant to the personality of the individual experiencing these patterns.

We need to stop and ask ourselves what is the reason for these occurrences, but more often than not, we just tend to sweep these incidences under the proverbial carpet, and overlook them in the hope that they will pass away. The reason for this is probably we do not know how to deal with such situations. Or perhaps we may be caught up in our own personal issues and do not even give a thought to these incidents. Secondly, because of the stigma attached to approaching a mental health professional and seeking help which is available, we choose to close our eyes to these circumstances. So, the situation worsens and the behaviour of the individual begins to change drastically as the illness progresses.

We may observe these behavioural changes in our homes or among friends. Hence, it is imperative that we empower ourselves with knowledge and equip ourselves with strategies, on how to deal with such situation, if and when they occur. 

With this in mind, I am Fine Foundation is organizing a Webinar on “How to help Adolescents deal with Anxiety and Depression,” on Sunday, August 23, 2020 from 11:00 am onwards. Registrations for the same will open shortly. Stay tuned for updates on the same. 

Let us empower ourselves to reach out to the youth of today by understanding and helping them deal with overwhelming situations in their lives, keeping in mind that the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow.

Thank you.

I am Fine.

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