The State of the World's Children 2021: Promoting, protecting and caring for children’s mental health


Children around the world have been locked out of classrooms, sequestered in their homes and robbed of the everyday joy of playing with friends – all consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions more families have been pushed into poverty, unable to make ends meet. Child labour, abuse and gender-based violence are on the rise.

Many children are filled with sadness, hurt or anxiety. Some are wondering where this world is headed and what their place is in it.

Indeed, these are very challenging times for children and young people, and this is the state of their world in 2021.

But even absent a pandemic, psychosocial distress and poor mental health afflict far too many children – including millions who, each year, are forced from their homes, scarred by conflict and serious adversity, and deprived of access to schooling, protection and support.

With this edition of The State of the World’s Children, the first ever to focus on mental health, UNICEF is signalling its determination to listen – and to act.