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Preserving the mental health and well-being of children and young adults

Simon MOUTQUIN (Belgium, SOC)

According to PACE, the Covid-19 pandemic had a “devastating effect” on the mental health and well-being of children and young adults, who have also been affected by phenomena such as the global financial crisis, the cost-of-living crisis, uncertainties on the job market, a war in Europe, the ever-intensifying climate crisis and digitalisation.

Against this backdrop, PACE called for integrating mental health into national health systems, especially primary and community-based health services, underlining that “there is no health without mental health”. It also recommended that member States decentralise health-care services so that people get timely mental health care regardless of where they live, while ensuring that everybody has access to these services, irrespective of their socioeconomic status, ethnic background, sexual orientation, gender identity or legal status.

The resolution adopted today by PACE, on the basis of the report by Simon Moutquin (Belgium, SOC), proposes a set of measures to address other concerns impacting on young people's mental health (such as socio-economic inequalities or employment insecurity), and to protect their mental health in the event of a public health emergency or confinement period.

PACE also recommended that national parliaments empower children and young people in policy-making processes.

Finally, the parliamentarians emphasised that mental healthcare must be provided on a voluntary basis and respect the autonomy of the person receiving care, adding that “any decisions of the Committee of Ministers should reflect this human rights imperative, and be taken in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.