Adolescence is a critical stage in the life course, shaping the chances of a productive and fulfilling future for girls, boys and the societies they live in. Investments in adolescents can improve their lives today, tomorrow as they mature into adults, and can have positive effects on the next generation of children.

Mental disorders are a leading burden of disease for adolescents. Yet, data on the prevalence of adolescent mental health conditions remain sparse, especially in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). These data are urgently needed to guide strategic actions to address the burden of mental health problems among adolescents through effective policies and programs. The consequences of not addressing adolescent mental health conditions include the risk of suicide, which is currently a leading cause of mortality among boys and girls aged 15-19, lower uptake of sexual and reproductive health interventions, and lower educational achievement, among others. Longer-term impacts of neglecting adolescent mental health range from reduced opportunities for girls and boys to individually lead meaningful, happy lives as adults, to broader social consequences, including higher rates of unemployment, drug use and exposure to violence.