WELCOME TO COPENHAGEN
A message from IAYMH President, Patrick McGorry

On behalf of the IAYMH Executive and all our supporters we warmly welcome you to join us in Copenhagen for the 6th International Youth Mental Health Conference from 29 September – 1 October 2022 to reimagine youth mental health.

In the wake of the COVID-19 global pandemic the mental health of young people around the world has never been a higher priority. In fact, it has become the “shadow pandemic”. In the decade prior to the pandemic the world witnessed a steady decline in the mental health of young people in transition from childhood to mature adulthood, covering the age range from 12-25 years. This prompted a search for answers and also helping responses which stimulated a wave of innovation in holistic models of care for young people which could safely engage young people and offer enhanced primary mental health care alongside interventions targeting other key needs such as vocational and drug and alcohol support. At a macro level we also witnessed the creation of a very new multidisciplinary field of youth mental health, which is crucial to addressing this major public health challenge of our times.

Young people already bear the major burden of onset of mental ill-health across the lifespan with 50% of the burden of disease in the 12-25-year age group being made up of mental and substance use disorders. Equally, more than fifty per cent of young people experience mental ill health at some point during these years. Seventy-five per cent of mental disorders emerge before the age of 25 years and is the major threat to life and fulfillment for young people and a cohesive and productive society. The pandemic unleashed an additional wave of 25% of new cases of anxiety and depression in 2020 alone, and young people were especially hard hit.

The reasons were obvious. Educational disruption, loneliness and separation from peer groups, loss of employment and a huge cloud over their futures. Their support systems of parents, teachers and peers were all weakened and exhausted. The energy and resilience that characterises young people is a powerful antidote but a substantial minority of young people will need expert help and support to recover. This all means that our reforms in youth mental health care and a stronger and better-informed approach to prevention are more important than ever. As a youth mental health field, we have suffered from separation and disconnection too and so it is crucial that we surge back, regain the momentum we need, and recharge our mission by coming together in Copenhagen in September 2022.

Collaborative leadership powered by young people working together with experts in mental health, education and a range of interdependent fields is essential and we invite you to revive and reimagine this together with the International Association for Youth Mental Health.

I look forward to seeing you in Copenhagen next September.

Patrick McGorry, IAYMH President

A message from IAYMH’s Youth Executive Members - Oluwaferanmi, Mercy, Zaynab and Jimmy

The time has come for us to reimagine youth mental health all over the world.

The IAYMH 2022 conference will be an avenue to explore the progress that has been made in youth mental health and show us a reimagined future.

As young people, we are at the center of this world and thus being an integral part of the conference is not negotiable, but a necessity. Our lived experiences are the central piece required to ensure that the best and most effective outcomes can be reimagined.

The world is consistently evolving. Major events that occur en masse effect the wellbeing of young people. Most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has had such effects. As young people, we have all persevered to display immense strength, thus empowering other youths and the systems that support us. As we demonstrate a fierce vigor for change, we have not just strived, in fact, we have thrived.

Join us for IAYMH 2022 in Copenhagen as we reconnect as a unified global team. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that no one is left behind. Only together can we achieve this.

This is a regeneration of services. This is the revival of young people. This is IAYMH 2022 Reimagined. #ReimaginingYMH

IAYMH Executive Committee

Patrick McGorry (Australia), President
Barbara Dooley (Ireland), Vice President
Srividya Iyer (Canada), Vice President
Oluwaferanmi Omitoyin (Nigeria), Vice President
Jo Fitzsimons (Australia), Secretary/Treasurer
Andrew Thompson (Australia)

Jimmy Tan (Canada)
Joseph Duffy (Ireland)
Magenta Simmons (Australia)
Mercy Mkandawire (Malawi)
Victor Chidi Onyencho (Nigeria)
Zaynab Sohawon (UK)