Dozens of buildings in Vietnam’s big cities turned blue, the symbolic color of UNICEF, to celebrate World Children’s Day on November 20.
|Buildings in Vietnam turn blue to celebrate World Children’s Day on November 20. Sources: UNICEF|
One UN House in Hanoi, TNR Building in Hanoi, Dragon Bridge in Danang, Masterise Homes in Ho Chi Minh City, and Landmark 81 in Ho Chi Minh City are the landmarks responding to the day that advances mental well-being in Vietnam in this year’s celebrations.
On this occasion, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Vietnam calls for enhanced mental health strategies to support the young generation in Vietnam. It’s part of a communication campaign to deliver mental health-related information and positive approaches.
Named “Open Up & Connect”, this campaign will run until December 11 – UNICEF’s 77th anniversary – providing tips, resources, and creative ideas to learn how to better identify when a friend, daughter, son, student, or oneself is struggling.
Quick tips and activities will provide coping strategies and encourage all to open up and connect with others – a friend, parent, teacher – who can provide support.
|UNICEF Representative in Vietnam, Rana Flowers.|
Mental health among children and adolescents in Vietnam
The findings of the latest National Adolescent Mental Health survey highlight a concerning reality: many children, adolescents, and young people are struggling with mental health challenges, lacking the essential coping skills, support, or services critical to their overall well-being.
The survey showed that one in five adolescents faces a mental health issue, with only 8.4% of them able to access necessary support services or counseling for emotional and behavioral challenges. Moreover, only 5.1% of parents recognized that their adolescent needed help for emotional and behavioral problems.
UNICEF Representative in Vietnam Rana Flowers congratulated the Government of Vietnam on its current efforts to develop a comprehensive mental health strategy. It says that UNICEF encourages a specific focus on early intervention, introducing relevant strategies and interventions specifically designed for children and adolescents that build skills and resilience and promote mental well-being.
She said that children, adolescents, parents and teachers must be equipped with skills, knowledge, and resources to enjoy and promote mental well-being.”
“It is essential that all of us – parents, teachers, social workers, health workers, government and private sector – work to de-stigmatize mental health, understand how the experience and response for girls and boys may differ and actively and persistently promote mental well-being approaches and strategies to strengthen the prevention of serious risks in this area,” she added.
Mental health has been identified as a matter of concern by young people themselves. Earlier this year, UNICEF Vietnam consulted its network of young people (U-report) on the issue of greatest concern to the population UNICEF serves: children, adolescents, and young people.
Most participants selected ‘mental health’, appealing for stronger attention and support, asking UNICEF to dedicate World Children’s Day 2023 to championing their mental well-being.
UNICEF efforts for Vietnamese children
November 20 marks the anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) coming into force.
To promote mental well-being, UNICEF Vietnam will organize an event on November 28 in Hanoi where experts from several ministries and academia will analyze the national mental health situation of children and adolescents and share ideas and lessons learned in support of a dynamic and child /adolescent sensitive national strategy.
Importantly, the participants will learn about concerns and ideas to promote mental well-being directly from young people and the outcomes of the ‘Hackathon Competition 2023’ in Danang City until November 26.
"Children and youth participation is a core principle of the CRC and UNICEF is committed to engaging the population we serve in activities and discussions on areas that matter to them and will impact their lives," Flowers said.
During every World Children’s Day, UNICEF Vietnam enhances their participation, including children’s takeovers in various offices, undertaking worker roles for a few hours, speaking about their concerns, sharing ideas, and gaining insight into the employment opportunities that will need their skills.
UNICEF Vietnam’s young entrepreneur network NexGen initiative has also partnered with businesses in Ho Chi Minh City to welcome groups of children and adolescents as a part of the World Children’s Day agenda, while landmark buildings in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Danang will switch their lighting to blue to celebrate the rights of every child.