Mental Health MH04, 2018 – 2021

Youth Well being in China & Central America


INTRODUCTION Mental illnesses and addictions often have onset in childhood and adolescence, with greatest frequency in the 15-24 year age group1. Global estimates are that 10-20% of youth under age 25 years will experience a mental illness or addiction Depression, anxiety and substance use disorders are among the most common of these conditions, and are often complicated by increased risk of suicidality. Left untreated, these conditions tend to become chronic conditions in adulthood, and are associated with higher rates of impaired academic, occupational and interpersonal functioning, job loss, physical illness, poor quality of life, morbidity and mortality. Mental health and addictions among youth in Honduras and El Salvador Honduras and El Salvador are LMICs with populations of 8.8 and 6.1 million, respectively. About 50% of the inhabitants in both countries are under the age of 2535. Like many Central American countries, Honduras and El Salvador have long histories of political instability, civil wars, frequent natural disasters, high rates of violence, and poverty. The collective impact of these factors on mental health is significant, particularly in youth. Although prevalence studies are few, high rates of depression (32%) and suicidality (13%) have been reported in adolescents in El Salvador, and significant psychological distress and stress in Honduran youth affected by political repression and natural disasters.

Programme Contacts

Principle Investigator
Dr Arun Rvindran
Dr. Jürgen Rehm (University of Toronto)
Dr. Sam Law (University of Toronto)
Dr. Nisha Ravindran (University of Toronto)
Deputy Minister Alexander Bezzina (Government of Ontario)
Dr. Stan Kutcher
Dr. Lin Lu
Dr. Qing-Mei Kong (Peking University Sixth Hospital)
Dr. Yi-Min Kang (Inner Mongolia Medical University) Dr. Yi-Ming Wang (Guizhou Medical University)
Dr. Yan-Ping Bao (Peking University)
Dr. Zhi-Min Liu (Peking University)
Central America
Dr. Marco Medina (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras; UNAH)
Dr. German Moncado (UNAH)
Dr. Virna Lopez (UNAH)
Dr. Reynaldo Flores (Universidad Nueva San Salvador; UNSSA)
El Salvador.
Dr. Karla Navarrete (Anti-drug Secretariat, San Salvador department)
Ms. Mirna Flamenco (Anti-drug Secretariat, San Salvador department)
Devora Kestel (Mental health lead, Pan American Health Organization; PAHO)
Dr. Carmen Martinez (PAHO-Central America)

Funding organisations

  • Mental Health MH04
  • China, Honduras, El Salvador
  • 2018 – 2021