Protecting Mental Health 

Child Rights Champions

Protecting Mental Health  

Children and young people around the world are increasingly raising their voices to address the issue of mental health. With the growing recognition of the importance of mental health, young people are advocating for more accessible and affordable mental health services, as well as for increased awareness and understanding of mental health issues. Through various forms of activism, such as advocacy campaigns and peer support networks, young people are promoting mental well-being, reducing stigma, and creating safe spaces for those who may be struggling with mental health challenges. UNICEF recognizes the critical role of young people in driving change and is committed to supporting and empowering them in their efforts to promote mental health and well-being for all children and young people.

Charles Gallagher, from County Donegal is one of UNICEF’s Child Rights Champions on mental health. Charles spent the day with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in 2019 as part of World Children’s Day, in order to discuss the mental health challenges young people are facing, particularly in rural Ireland.

During a private meeting with the Taoiseach, Charles addressed issues around young people’s well-being in school. Within the school environment, he wants to see greater support for students in the areas of youth mental health, learning disabilities and dealing with exam pressures. He wants young people right across the country to be given access to the same standardised support, regardless of where they live. Charles also took the opportunity to raise concerns facing his generation about climate change.

Charles also met with Minister for Health Simon Harris to again raise his concerns about the available support for young people suffering from mental health concerns.

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