Bangkok, 16 November 2022 – UNICEF launches its Every Day is Mind Day campaign. The slogan for this year’s important campaign is ‘Meet Your Mind, Find Your Safe Zone’ to help children and young people in Thailand discover a safe space of their own, where they can cope with mental health challenges in a healthy way through self-care and gain strength to ask for support. The two-month campaign will also equip parents, caregivers, and teachers with mental health literacy and the tools to support their children and students in building resilience for mental well-being.
The campaign features a quiz for children and young people to better understand their emotions and identify a ‘safe zone’ for feeling these emotions, whether it be a pet, a peaceful corner at the beach, a favourite music genre, or a pleasant activity or hobby. To inspire children and young people to explore this inner world and develop their inner strength, the campaign kicks off with a touching music video of “Rest” by A Little Bit High of Spacebar Music Hub, a band that found their safe zone in songs about vulnerability.
“Surrounded and silenced by mental health stigma, children and young people feel they must behave as if they are okay and often feel like they have no one to turn to,” said Kyungsun Kim, UNICEF Representative for Thailand. “Their mental health has seriously suffered from the grief, uncertainty, isolation, and stress over the past years of COVID-19 and well before that, so Every Day is Mind Day is returning to equip them with accessible, youth-friendly tools and support to face difficult emotions in spaces and with people that feel safe to them. This way, they can be ready to open up and reach out for help from their loved ones or, if needed, from a professional.”
The campaign follows the recent release of Strengthening Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Systems and Services for Children and Adolescents in East Asia and Pacific: Thailand Country Report 2022 by UNICEF, the Ministry of Public Health, the Institute for Population and Social Research and Burnet Institute, which found that an estimated 1 in 14 children aged 5-9 and 1 in 7 adolescents aged 10-19 in Thailand have mental health issues. The 2021 Global School-based Student Health Survey also finds that a tragic 17.6 percent of 13-17-year-olds in Thailand had recently seriously considered suicide.
Despite significant steps taken by Thailand for youth mental health through school programmes and health and social services, access to support is far from universal. There are only 200 psychiatrists specializing in child and adolescent mental health in the country, according to the Department of Mental Health’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Rajanagarindra Institute.
“Poor mental health costs children and young people years in development milestones and, much too often, their lives. With half of all mental disorders developing before age 15 and with limited access to support, it is critical that beyond ‘safe zones’, they feel safe in having honest conversations with their parents, caregivers, and teachers. Throughout this campaign and beyond, UNICEF will continue to support the Royal Thai Government to develop a comprehensive mental health support system that reaches every child and young person in their homes, schools, and communities, so that they can access the right quality of care at the right time,” said Kim.