Course dates:

From 16 October to 19 November 2023

Free enrolment until
7 November 2023

According to recent reports by UNICEF and WHO, the decline in children’s mental health has become a significant global issue. A longstanding source of concern, it has emerged more strongly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Children have been further exposed to threats - including anxiety and depression attacks, heightened exposure to domestic and sexual violence and more subtle abuses such as unhealthy competition - which are taking an enormous toll on them and may ultimately lead to social exclusion and inability to realize their full potential.

Despite these highly concerning developments, availability of adequate support and services for the mental health of children and adolescents is greatly lacking worldwide. With this MOOC we want to show that it does not have to be this way. Children’s right to health is well articulated in legal and policy terms. An understanding of the main challenges faced by children and young people in this context and the knowledge of possible mechanisms that exist to address these concerns may help realise that there are solutions.

One particular area of interest looks into approaches that prioritise and commit to the direct participation of children and young people in decision-making in this area of their lives. As demonstrated by the recent GC International Conference, there is a strong call from children themselves to ensure that answers are given to their doubts and requests, and that measures are taken through meaningful consultation with them to support their coping mechanisms and their proper, healthy and safe psychological development.

Our MOOC on this theme facilitates such understanding and knowledge by providing not only information and materials to understand children and young people’s mental health as a human right, but also guidance and examples on what can be done at the practical level.



The MOOC runs over 5 weeks and is organised in 3 modules:

Module 1 – Children’s mental health

  • Context: why it is important to talk about children’s mental health
  • Children’s mental health: a matter of rights

Module 2 – Protecting children’s mental health in times of crisis

  • Facing risks in a variety of situations
  • Minimising risks and maximising protection

Module 3 – A rights-based approach to children’s mental health

  • Children’s rights at the centre of solutions

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the course, participants will have gained:

  • key information about definitions, methods and practices in the area of children’s mental health
  • robust knowledge on children’s rights principles, standards and practices
  • increased awareness about the connections between children’s mental health and children’s rights
  • clearer understanding - through reference to case study and implementation practices – of the need to adopt a holistic, rights-based approach to children’s mental health

Ultimately, the course is a pathway to:

  • empower children, young people, families, social workers, health professionals, educators, children’s rights defenders, policy-makers and other members of civil society through education on the human rights-based approach to children’s mental health
  • amplify dialogue on the importance of talking and acting on children’s mental health as a matter of rights
  • envisage a roadmap for change, including: how to develop child/adolescent mental health policy and plans; inter-sectoral collaboration; advocacy on children’s mental health.


The course encompasses 5 weeks with approximately 25 hours of active learning. It will have video lectures, self-studied case studies and readings, peer-to-peer learning through discussions and webinars as well as knowledge checks with polls and quizzes, all aimed at developing and reinforcing personal critical reflection. It will focus on examples and current debates from different regions and countries in the world.


Free certificate of participation

At the end of the course, participants who have completed all discussions, polls and quizzes will receive a free certificate confirming their participation.


Target Audience

This MOOC is designed for children, young people, families, social workers, health professionals, educators, policy-maker, children’s rights defenders and other members of civil society who currently work, advocate and care for the promotion and protection of children’s mental health.