My name is Lawrence Senamu Dolo Jr, I am a Change Agent from YMCA Liberia. This is my first world Council but it is also my best because it pointed out an issue that I am passionate about. I like to share my experiences from this World Council on mental health with you.
Mental health is a very big problem in my country; many young people fall to different mental health problems each day. This makes me feel so bad and frustrated. I have always wanted to go deeper into understanding mental health from a global perspective to enable me take local and global actions in fighting it. Well, the world council made my wish came through.
For the past days, I have interacted with amazing people, learned a lot about the different forms of mental health problems the world is facing including Alcohol/Substance Dependence, Anxiety Disorder depression, etc and how YMCAs across the world are working towards addressing these mental health problems. It was good to know that the one million voices also captured mental health as a problem. I was inspired by the incredible effort YMCA is making across the world to address mental illness; for example: some YMCAs have psychosocial units and programs that provide counseling services and referrals while others have mental health awareness programs. All of these programs and services are important to the fight against mental illness.
With the experiences I gathered throughout the world council, I have realized that the silence of mental health is yet to be broken and the YMCA should take the lead.
It was also important to know that the YMCA is committed to the fulfillment of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to the benefit of all youth everywhere and that YMCAs around the world are subscribing to this position.
As we prepared to go back home, I have challenged myself to create awareness about some of the common causes of stress and work to make my YMCA a safe space where young people can have discussions about mental health. My energy has been renewed, my passion has grown high and I fell empowered to act now to end mental illness.
Lawrence S. Dolo Jr is a YMCA Change Agent from YMCA of Liberia. He is passionate about mental health and the rights of people living with disability.