Young people fall in age groups where they are struggling to fit in, socially and emotionally, and face different vulnerabilities that may trigger mental health issues. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), globally, one in seven 10-19-year-olds experiences a mental disorder, accounting for 13 per cent of the global burden of the disease in this age group. Moreover, suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among 15-29 year-olds. In early October, Ndera Neuro-Psychiatric Teaching Hospital also reported that it had received 7,817 patients battling depression compared to 1,743 recorded last year. The majority of the new cases were middle-aged people between the ages of 20 to 39 years of age. Children under the age of 19 represented 20 per cent of the total number of patients. The statistics show how young people are affected by mental health issues and there are different drivers for that. According to Gloria Umwali, Director of You Matter Initiative Rw, some of the factors are psychosocial; mainly family-related conflicts that remain unaddressed properly, and sometimes, for a long period of time. “This kind of environment,” she continued. “is likely to affect everyone involved and does particular damage to young people. To cope with triggering situations, the latter does not always use the best coping mechanisms, which results in another cause of mental and emotional distress: drug and alcohol abuse which is an indicator or symptom of a greater discomfort.” Umwali also tackled socio-economic factors that include unemployment and the lack of a sense of purpose and accomplishment which she said contribute to a significant extent to the rise of feelings such as hopelessness, desperation, and distress. Rulinda Kwizera, Board Chair of Mental Health Journal Rwanda highlighted poverty as one of the key vulnerability drivers of mental health issues among youth, explaining that some do not want to accept they do not have the same financial capacity as others which leads to low self-esteem. “Some youth find it hard to accept that they do not have the same living conditions as their agemates, ignoring the fact that they do not have the same capacity. When they don’t get what they need like others, sometimes, it leads to low self-esteem. They feel lonely and start isolating themselves from society which can lead to depression or other mental health issues,” he said. Kwizera advised young people to go for self-acceptance and be associated with people who do not make them feel low or less valued as well as to dig deep into the root cause of the poverty they are facing and do something, however small it is, instead of worrying. Jean Pierre Ndagijimana, a psychologist at Solid Minds, a psychological health care clinic sees the intergenerational trauma from the Genocide Against the Tutsi as one of the vulnerability factors for mental health issues among the Rwandan youth. He noted that financial expectation, as well as fear of failure, also play a part, declaring that sometimes, they come with stress and that when accumulated, it can lead to burnout or depression. Ndagijimana also pointed a finger at social media as one of the key vulnerability drivers of mental health issues in young people where some have gotten addicted to it, resulting in losing both sleep and genuine social support. He called for healthy and genuine social support to help young people feel loved and valued as well as education about appropriate ways to use social media, adding that the platforms can also be used to convey comforting and inspiring messages instead of those that drown young people. “The therapists should also create mental health resources that are user-friendly and tailored to the young people’s needs to ease their access,” he said. “We need these user-friendly services available at workplaces, schools, etc.” Ndagijimana said that insurance should also be able to cover mental health services provided by professionals, declaring that most insurance companies agree to only cover intake sessions and not all psychotherapy sessions which limit some people from accessing services.