Arlo Parks has responded to a new report from UNICEF which examines the mental health of children and young people in the UK and across the world.
The State of the World’s Children 2021 has been published by UNICEF this morning (October 5) and notes how the coronavirus pandemic has “raised concerns about the mental health of a generation of children”.
“But the pandemic may represent the tip of a mental health iceberg – an iceberg we have ignored for far too long,” the report continues. “The State of the World’s Children 2021 examines child, adolescent and caregiver mental health. It focuses on risks and protective factors at critical moments in the life course and delves into the social determinants that shape mental health and well-being.
“It calls for commitment, communication and action as part of a comprehensive approach to promote good mental health for every child, protect vulnerable children and care for children facing the greatest challenges.”
Parks has issued a comment on the findings of the report, which comes ahead of World Mental Health Day on Sunday (October 10).
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“I have lost friends to mental illness and watched them drown in an inky pit of darkness,” Parks said. “I have also seen friends blossom and navigate their way towards the light with professional help and a loving, attentive support system.
“A mind filled with shame cannot grow and that is why I believe that deconstructing stigma, making mental health support accessible and building structures to support people, in particular vulnerable and marginalised groups, is essential. Queerness in particular should not mean guilt, it should not mean other.”
Parks added: “We must check up on each other, stand up for each other and banish shame from our vocabulary.”
Last month saw Parks win the 2021 Mercury Prize for her debut album ‘Collapsed In Sunbeams’.