Sexual and reproductive health

Mental health matters: International Youth Day 2014

Facts on adolescent health

Picture of adolescents in South America

12 August: The theme of this year’s International Youth Day is “Youth and Mental Health”. In the areas of sexual and reproductive health, adolescents are vulnerable on many fronts and face many challenges. It may be a period during which they have poor self-esteem and weakened relationships with peers and adults leading to greater risk-taking behaviours and a poor support network. For others, adolescence may be a time of questioning their sexual orientation, they may acquire an STI or learn that they have HIV or may become pregnant before they intended or forced into an early marriage.

In any country, these situations, depending on the context, may lead, beyond the obvious health consequences, to a sense of isolation; withdrawal from education; increased risks of violence and abuse; and a higher tendency towards suicide.

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