Press Release

UN-Turkmenistan Joint Programme on “Empowering and Engaging the Youth to Mitigate the Multi-Dimensional Threats of the Global Pandemic” enhances the skills of professionals working with young people and their families

25 April 2022

  • Despite the positive effects of anti-epidemic measures taken to prevent COVID-19 infection, their prolonged nature, especially the lockdowns, has been shown in recent studies to result in the development of long-term mental disorders. 

In the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, global prevalence of anxiety and depression increased by a massive 25%, according to a scientific brief released by the WHO on 2 March 2022. One major explanation for the increase is the unprecedented stress caused by the social isolation resulting from the pandemic. Linked to this were constraints on people’s ability to work, seek support and engage in their communities. Loneliness, fear of infection, suffering and death for oneself and for loved ones, grief after bereavement and financial worries have also all been cited as stressors leading to anxiety and depression. Among youth, exhaustion has been a major trigger for suicidal thinking.

In the context of a pandemic, mental health disorders are considered as a consequence of long-term isolation, disconnection, destruction of habitual ties, loss of educational and labor possibilities, travel limitation, leading to a threat to personal and public safety.

In this regard, the Program Office of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Turkmenistan, under the overall guidance of the UNODC Headquarters (Vienna), decided to address the low accessibility of psychological services in the country and to implement the evidence-based "Strong Family" Programme within the framework of the HSTF Joint Programme (JP) on "Empowering and engaging the youth to mitigate multidimensional threats of the global pandemic” and has organized an overview workshop in the programme pilot sites (Dashoguz and Lebap velayats) for 20 young activists, selected by the Ministry of Sports and Youth Policy of Turkmenistan, from April 25 to 27, 2022.

The aim of the workshop was to advance the understanding of the human security concept and its multi-dimensional treats by promoting life-skills, positive thinking, and strengthening the ability of the workshop participants to promote the programme in their community, as well as in developing a community initiative for the further program implementation.

The participants learned about the basic principles of family communication and behaviour, and stress management. They were convinced of the importance of a good mental state and mood, positive emotions and a strong bond with family and friends to help them find the strength to overcome all the adversities and difficulties associated with COVID-19 prevention measures.

The overview workshop was conducted by previously trained facilitators with experience of working under the Strong Families Programme within the Joint Programme on Social Services in 2021-2022.

It is expected that, the participants will further contribute to piloting of the "Strong Family" programme at the local level targeting young people at risk and vulnerable families with problematic substance users, as well as for juveniles with a history of conflict with the law, assist in selection of families and co-facilitation of activities.

UNODC, as a partner of the Joint Programme, develops and implements initiatives to apply a human security approach to community development in the areas of personal, community and health security.

The overview workshop has been conducted with financial support of the USAID Governance support programme.

Merjen Annamuradova Communications Focal Point UNODC Turkmenistan

Merjen Annamuradova

Communications Focal Point

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United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

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United States Agency for International Development

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