HOCIC urges investment in mental wellbeing and opportunities for young people

Hope For A Child In Christ (HOCIC) has called for increased funding for mental health services and awareness campaigns for young people to improve youth development nationwide.

In a statement commemorating National Youth Day, HOCIC Director, Sunga Mzeche, emphasized the need for the government and various development partners to come up with practical interventions that will eliminate the supply of drugs to youths and scale up efforts to integrate mental health education into school curriculums.

The country celebrates National Youth Day annually on February 21, and this year’s commemorations are held under the theme “Positioning Youth Empowerment and Development towards Vision 2030.”

“The 2024 International Youth Day theme focuses on mental health. It is crucial to recognize that mental health is a vital aspect of youth development and must be addressed at a national level. I call for increased funding for mental health services and awareness campaigns. As development practitioners, let us come up with practical interventions that will eliminate the supply of drugs to youths and simultaneously scale up efforts on drug and substance abuse and the integration of mental health education into the school curriculum,” Mzeche said.

“Drug and substance abuse have negative effects on youths, such as poor academic performance, health problems, and social problems. Interventions to address this issue should include awareness campaigns, drug rehabilitation programs, and increased law enforcement.”

She further called on the youth to seize opportunities available to them through the government, private sector, and development partners to enhance themselves.

“I would also like to earnestly urge all the youth today to cherish their youth and take this time to explore opportunities for self-development. Many opportunities are being made available through the efforts of the government, development partners, and the private sector,” Mzeche said.

“Please take these opportunities seriously. They are meant for you. Do not waste the opportunity to improve yourself. As much as efforts are being made to empower you, the onus is on you to fully utilize these opportunities for self and national development.”

Mzeche further highlighted that socio-economic factors, coupled with climate change, disproportionately affect young people.

“Young people need support to build resilience and adapt to the changing environment. Specific measures to address these challenges and support youth development are needed. This includes increased investment in education, skills development, and entrepreneurship opportunities,” she said.

“Both rural and urban youths face numerous challenges, such as lack of access to education and economic opportunities and high unemployment rates. There is a need for all concerned stakeholders to come up with interventions to address these issues and ensure that youth, both rural and urban, are not left behind in the development process. This could include investment in rural infrastructure, such as roads, electricity, and internet connectivity.”

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