Andre, 14, sits in the stands of a repurposed sports stadium in Carabayllo, a district in the north of Lima, Peru, while he waits for his scheduled appointment at the UNICEF-supported Community Mental Health Center that occupies one of the buildings.

Fighting Anxiety and Depression in Peru: One Teen's Story

The call from her son's school psychologist in Lima, Peru came as a shock to Roxana. Andre, typically a lively and talkative 14-year-old, was under a desk, crying and saying he didn't want to keep living. He needed mental health care right away, said the psychologist. 


"I didn't feel well and I had ... how to say it, this anxiety," Andre said. "I had a lot of nausea, I didn't want to eat." 


Roxana looked for help for her son and was eventually referred to the UNICEF-supported Carabayllo Community Health Center, where Andre was diagnosed with anxiety and depression and received the support and treatment he needed. 


Watch the video to learn more about Andre's story:



"Being an adolescent has never been easy," said Ana de Mendoza, UNICEF Representative in Peru. "But during the pandemic, adolescents have faced a new situation that is quite stressful for them. Three in 10 adolescents have a mental health condition."


"I want to say to my son that I love him very much, that he's brave," Roxana said. "I think by sharing our story, we're going to help lots of people."


"It's better to have good mental health than trying to live a lie," said Andre. "Saying you're okay when you're really not."


In 2020, UNICEF reached more than 47 million children, adolescents and caregivers in 116 countries with community-based mental health care and psychosocial support. There is much more to be done. Please donate. 


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Learn more about how UNICEF is working to promote, protect and care for the mental health of children and young people. 


Top photo: Andre, 14, stands in a repurposed sports stadium in Lima, Peru, waiting for his appointment at the nearby  UNICEF-supported Carabayllo Community Mental Health Center. © UNICEF/UN0476525/Mandros. Video edited by Tong Su for UNICEF USA.