HEAL: Healthy Emotions And Lifestyles after the effects caused by the coronavirus
COVID-19 has caused devastating effects and schools are not an exception. According to the OECD, “school closures have had significant implications for the mental health of adolescents, as schools are not just places where students develop and progress their academic skills. While many adolescents have been able to keep online connections with peers, the loss of in-person interaction could have long-term negative consequences for mental health”.
According to UNICEF, in Bulgaria 50% of students reported experiencing negative feelings, such as loneliness, insecurity, irritability, and anxiety due to reduced social contacts. Mental health in >35% of students and 44% of teachers is worse than before. The Study “Effects of Covid-19 confinement on the mental health of children and adolescents in Spain” by the University of Burgos, demonstrates that children in Spain, between 8 and 12 years old show anxiety, depression, rage control and problems with emotional regulation, rebellious behaviour and worse integration, besides social competence. Students between 13 and 18 years show higher levels of anxiety, depression, problems with emotional regulation and somatic complaints, as well as lower self-esteem and integration and social competence levels than children.
According to the Study “Growing up in lockdown: Europe’s children in the age of COVID-19” by Eurochild, students from Romania who were not allowed to leave the institutions, not even for their daily routine outside (going to school, going out and meeting friends, going for walks etc.) had a negative impact on them and their reaction was often frustration which translated in higher predisposition for aggressive or self-harming behaviour. OECD declares “Across OECD countries, students indicating mental distress are 35% more likely to have repeated a grade and remain at elevated risk of early school leaving”. Mental distress facilitates access to young students to alcohol, drugs, compulsive use of digital devices, etc. On the other hand, our partnership, carried out online focus groups to determine the impact of COVID-19 caused in mental health, to teachers and students within their entities. We targeted students from primary and secondary who were older than 11 years old, as they are more vulnerable, due to their easy access to addictions and other negative behaviours.
During these sessions students and teachers expressed they feel anxious, depressed, angry, lonely, etc., due to the uncertainty of their academic/professional future, the fast change from face-to-face to digital learning, the fear of losing relatives and friends, etc. Teachers expressed they feel powerless for not being able to help themselves and their students with their mental health challenges. Students are having bad performance at schools with difficulties in concentrating, think rationally and making decisions. Some students pass most of their ludic time with digital devices (videogames, mobile phones), losing interest in interacting with the outside world and participating in healthy activities.
Although Khan Krum, Matei Basarab and Permacultura Cantabria provide psychological support, we do not have all teachers trained to identify our students’emotions and work on their mental health. These and other relevant needs were identified.
OECD states “It is crucial that policies are put in place to ensure students are supported through to the end of their education including by resuming school-based mental health services and providing mental health training to teachers”.
Khan Krum, Matei Basarab and Permacultura Cantabria need to open a door for teachers and students to heal from the COVID-19 effects. For this, the 3 entities want to carry out the project HEAL: Healthy Emotions And Lifestyles after the effects caused by the coronavirus. During the project, the participating organisations will develop an innovative emotional management framework. It will be included in a book with audiobook versions in English, Bulgarian, Spanish and Romanian. Also, the framework will become part of our key areas. With this, we will support teachers, school leaders, students, etc. with high quality learning opportunities.
The main objectives of the project are: Objective 1: To deliver teachers and students innovative tools that contribute to their mental health, well-being and healthy lifestyles.
Objective 2: To engage teachers and students in the healing process, as a community. Objective 3: To empower school communities
in mental health and well-being.
- PARTICIPATORY VISIT TO MATEI BASARAB
ACTIVITY’S AIMS: To make participants become objective evaluators of themselves. To connect participants with their own unique identity, internal standards and values. To identify social oppressions in mental health. To learn to develop awareness campaigns. To identify the best practices carried out in the country for raising awareness. To carry out round tables with relevant associated partners. Associated partners will not be beneficiaries of the project funds and will use their own resources.
- PARTICIPATORY VISIT TO KHAN KRUM
ACTIVITY’S AIMS: To understand the importance of a community in social change. To become capable of setting healthy routines for students. To identify the best practices carried out in the country for healthy lifestyles and community building. To carry out round tables with relevant associated partners. Associated partners will participate in round tables, contributing as experts, not participants. They will not be beneficiaries of the project funds and will use their own resources.
- COURSE IN SPAIN
ACTIVITY’S AIMS: Provide the HEAL Framework, test the interactive book, define new initiatives to continue tackling the pandemic effects Introduce the Europass Certificates and its benefits, carry out round tables with relevant associated partners. Alternative non-formal learning methods will be applied.
- Kick Off Meeting
- Intermediate Meeting
- Final Meeting
- Conference in Bulgaria
- Conference in Spain
- Conference in Romania
It would be 1 day-long conferences that go in line with the project objective and goals below:
Objective 3: To empower school communities in mental health and well-being.
G3.1: To encourage and support teachers in becoming multipliers by transferring the new framework.
G3.2: To increase awareness of the importance in confronting our health challenges and reduce the stigma.
We analysed the impact that our project was going to generate at the following levels: LOCAL, REGIONAL AND NATIONAL LEVELS.
Our Partnership will become pioneers in an innovative framework in EM in our regions and countries. We will become reference entities who apply and share the HEAL Framework as a coping strategy for the mental challenges caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic. Teachers will become the main multipliers and leaders in transferring the HEAL Framework. The book developers, with the teachers’ support, will become the main managers of the HEAL Community. Their experience in this Framework and professionalism will be recognized by local communities.
Our local regions will become a good example of a resilient and non-stigmatized group of teachers, students, other people and organisations that offer safe spaces to work on mental health, healthy lifestyles and well-being, to tackle the negative impact that the pandemic has caused.
The book will become an important source of an innovative Framework worldwide. Our versions in English and Spanish will be a relevant strategy that will make most of the world have access to it, especially Latin American countries.
People from within and outside school communities, who have access to the HEAL Framework, will be capable of managing and working on their emotions and mental health, to deal and cope with unexpected and difficult circumstances.