THE theme of this year’s International Youth Day was underscored during celebrations marking the event in Honiara on Tuesday.
Vice chair of Honiara City Youth Council Jessica Parapolo said the theme “Youth and Mental Health” provided the perfect opportunity to turn the spotlight on challenges that upset the balance between all aspects of life – spiritually, physically and emotionally.
Ms Parapolo said mental health is a way having a sense of wellbeing and an ability to cope with life.
“It is the balance between all aspects of life –social, physical, spiritual and emotional and an integral part of overall health,” she said.
She added mental illness occurs when an individual “strange” behaviour and thinking hampers the ability to function in social environment.
Ms Parapolo said many young people often experienced stigma and discrimination, which discourages them from seeking help and advices.
Undersecretary of the Ministry of Women, Youth and Children Affairs AseriYalangono said the presence of youths in any country is very important.
“Youths play a very important role in any level of living environment,” Mr Yalangono said.
He assured youths that through the National Youth Policy, the government recognised the obstacle and continues to draw much needed effort to overcome this stigma to ensure that young people facing mental health challenges can lead full and healthy lives free of isolation and unnecessary shame.
“In that way they can openly seek the services and support they need from wherever environment they live.”
He added this will even show the positive role that youths play in the city by highlighting their skills, talents, and abilities.
Mr Yalangono said the ministry will continue to support youths in any upcoming projects by investing in the youth and their activities.
“We are committed to provide positive opportunities for our young people to play an important role in our country.”
By SOLOMON LOFANA