The Youth Recovery Plan report calls for universal access to mental health services. For young people, COVID-19’s devastating toll has been a call to action - to reimagine healthcare systems that are more equitable, accessible, and focused on mental health issues. Governments around the world have struggled to ensure equitable healthcare during the pandemic, and fair access to vaccines. This has worsened socio-economic divides and created unnecessary political fallout, while disproportionately impacting the most vulnerable. Young people believe now is the time for a new social contract, and to push for universal healthcare, while shifting from a responsive “cure” model to a more preventative “care” model that is rooted in community and interdisciplinary alliances. The Davos Lab Youth Recovery Plan report, published in 2021, cites greater investment in digital healthcare as key for strengthening resilience, trust, and access. Other recommendations made in the Youth Recovery Plan report include increased transparency among international organizations, and clearer communication from both these organizations and national governments - in order to build trust and help tackle vaccine hesitancy (and other forms of reluctance to embrace public health measures). Young people see private sector leadership and partnerships with community leaders as crucial in this regard. Among Millennials and members of Gen Z, there is an increased awareness of the potentially negative impacts of poor mental health. The pandemic has shed further light on related problems, not least due to increased isolation during the health crisis and uncertainty about infection and the loss of loved ones. 98% of the young people surveyed as part of the Youth Recovery Plan report consider access to mental health services a human right - though many people are denied help due to financial reasons, a lack of awareness of available services, and pervasive stigma. The work and social pressures that have become a part of modern lifestyles have put young people at disproportionate risk, though there are opportunities to help promote healthier workplaces - for example, by embracing hybrid work, which can help reduce burnout and increase performance. Greater investments can also be made in early-childhood education about mental health. In addition to universal access to mental health care, the Youth Recovery Plan report calls for media and educational institutions to help destigmatize mental health treatment and do away with the misconceptions that perpetuate it.
Speaking Up About Public and Mental Health