Swiss philanthropy, UNICEF team up to tackle youth mental health


Alliance magazine


Switzerland’s Z Zurich Foundation, alongside UNICEF, has launched the Global Coalition for Youth Mental Well-being, an initiative to address the severe global shortage of funding and action supporting young people’s mental health.

‘Adolescence is a critical window of opportunity to promote mental well-being, but sadly young people – across low, middle and high-income countries – are not getting the support they need to realize their full potential,’ said Carla Haddad Mardini, UNICEF Director of Private Fundraising and Partnerships.

‘We are delighted that the Z Zurich Foundation has stepped up to tackle this challenge. Now we need more private and public sector leaders to raise their voices and take collective action.’

UNICEF estimates that one in seven adolescents lives with a diagnosed mental disorder. Despite growing awareness about the negative effects and economic costs of poor mental health on lives and communities, there is a wide investment gap, particularly for mental health promotion and prevention programs. Globally, only two per cent of government health expenditure is allocated to mental health, according to UNICEF’s 2021 State of the World’s Children report.

To help close this gap, members of the new Coalition will contribute financial and other resources to support UNICEF’s youth mental health programs, as well as advocacy and knowledge sharing. As an initial goal, the Coalition aims to pool sufficient resources to benefit 30 million young people in 30 countries by 2030.

‘The Coalition’s unique approach bridges a critical gap in how the mental well-being of young people is addressed on a global scale. We are pleased to lead this Coalition with UNICEF,’ said Gary Shaughnessy, Chair of the Z Zurich Foundation.

The Coalition’s first action is a campaign to raise funds for programs to support the mental health and psychosocial well-being of young refugees who have fled the war in Ukraine and crossed into neighbouring countries.

New issue: Mental health philanthropy

This issue of Alliance explores the present state of philanthropy for mental health (who is doing what and where the gaps are), the intersections with other issues, the factors which have limited mental health philanthropy and the steps that are needed to bring philanthropists together to make common cause in the area. Guest edited by Krystian Seibert, Centre for Social Impact, Swinburne University Australia and chair, Mental Health First Aid, Australia.

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This news was shared by an Alliance member.

Tagged in: mental health philanthropy

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