Increasing awareness of youth health is important and it should be integrated with mental health promotion and prevention. Integrated suicide prevention initiatives across health, education, and youth development programs are important tools for advancing youth mental health. Using judicious digital tools is also an important way to address this issue.
Integrated suicide prevention initiatives across health, education, and youth development programs
Integrated suicide prevention initiatives across health, education, and youth development programs are designed to reduce risk factors and increase protective factors that increase access to help and reduce suicide ideation and behavior. These initiatives include case management/alternative programming, family support training, and referral sources for treatment. They also increase community awareness of suicide risks.
Various models have been implemented, some of which focus on specific subpopulations. These include enhanced crisis services, support groups for at-risk groups, screening programs, and gatekeeper training for caregivers. They also include mass media campaigns that have been used for coronary heart disease, smoking, and AIDS with varying levels of success.
The United States Air Force, for example, established a committee of civilian and military experts to design a suicide prevention strategy. They called it “LINK.” The strategy emphasizes the social and psychiatric elements of suicide, and it is designed to decrease stigma and increase community awareness of suicide risks.
Integrated mental health promotion and prevention interventions aim to strengthen an individual’s capacity to regulate emotions
Integrated mental health promotion and prevention interventions aim to strengthen an individual’s capacity to regulate emotions, reduce risks of mental disorders, and enhance their capacity to deal with mental health problems. These interventions can be designed to address individual needs or to target specific groups. Integrated approaches to mental health promotion and prevention are also important in addressing the determinants of mental health.
Mental health problems affect the quality of life of people and their relationships with others. They can also affect a person’s ability to engage in healthy behaviors and participate in educational and occupational pursuits. They can also be a source of financial strain on families.
Mental health problems are exacerbated by violence. The American Public Health Association reports that violence has a negative effect on mental health and child development. It has also been linked to anxiety, depression, substance misuse, and self-injury.
Policy landscape enables judicious use of digital tools for mental health
Investing in youth mental health is a top priority for state leaders. According to the Centers for Disease Control, rates of adolescents experiencing persistent sadness rose substantially over the last 10 years. The CDC also reported a large increase in the number of children visiting the emergency room for mental health concerns.
As a result, policymakers have turned to digital tools to tackle the problem. A new report from the National Academy for State Health Policy, NASHP, suggests that many states are taking the next step in their ongoing quest to improve children’s mental health. The report identifies several digital tools that have already proven their worth in communities that have adopted them.
While many states have implemented new legislation, many more are considering their options during the 2022 session.
Treatment gap for mental health problems in India
Despite recent reforms in youth mental health services, many questions remain regarding the most appropriate models of care. The best way to assess these is by examining the most recent estimates of prevalence of common mental disorders and the most effective treatments and prevention techniques.
It is estimated that 10% of the global population suffers from some form of mental disorder. The largest contributor is non-specific psychosocial disturbances, which evolve into major mental disorders. Moreover, they account for 45% of the global burden of disease.
The latest estimate of the global prevalence of mental disorders indicates that there is a big treatment gap. This gap is particularly noticeable among young people, who often delay receiving initial treatment.
The time cost of treating a person suffering from a mental disorder is a major hurdle. However, it is possible to overcome this obstacle by using digital health technologies. ICT can reduce the distance between a person in need of mental health care and the resources that can deliver it. In addition, ICT can facilitate remote diagnosis and treatment.
MHCA, empowerment of young people, and digital technology are key to advance young people’s mental health
Using the Mental Healthcare Act (MHCA) and the empowerment of young people in a digital world are two important aspects to advance youth mental health. The Act promotes access to specialists, prevention of suicide, and universal mental health care. Yet, the MHCA’s budget is a miniscule one. Its effective implementation requires sustainable intersectoral integration of mental health across youth-oriented services.
The policy landscape in India offers ample opportunity to use digital tools to advance youth mental health. Digital solutions can be used to monitor mental health needs, identify early psychological development, and identify critical health needs during a sensitive time of child development. They can also provide novel assistive and therapeutic resources for young people in need. Moreover, digital solutions can improve the delivery of mental health services by enabling technology-mediated care in rural areas.