Gendered influences on adolescent mental health in low-income and middle-income countries: recommendations from an expert convening

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An estimated 67000 adolescents die each year from self-harm, and far more—an estimated 10% of all adolescents—have intentionally harmed themselves. Suicide consistently ranks among the leading causes of death for older adolescent girls and boys globally, and depressive disorders, anxiety, behavioural problems, and self-harm are among the greatest contributors to young people’s burden of disease.

 Academics, practitioners, and advocates increasingly recognise the importance of mental health to the overall wellbeing of adolescents, and the complex linkages between gender and mental health.

Gender norms can negatively affect adolescent girls and boys, but they particularly limit girls’ ambitions and opportunities. Policies and programmes, particularly in low-income and middle-income countries, do not adequately address these important issues. To better understand these relationships and identify priorities for adolescent-focused and gender responsive mental health research and programmes, the International Center for Research on Women and UNICEF convened experts from academia, civil society, donor, and bilateral and multilateral institutions for a consultation in April, 2017. This article summarise their recommendations.