Protecting Youth’s Mental Health
For many, the age of “youth” is an interesting time, but since it is full of changes and challenges, it can represent the trigger of anxiety, worry and uneasiness.
For example, it is estimated that 4% of those aged between 15-24 years old recognize that they might suffer from chronic depression, while 14% of the European youth between 18-24 feel alienated or anxiety. Women are more likely to have depression (Eurofound). Unfortunately, young people sometimes do not recognise what is happening, where to find help or find it embarrassing, so these emotional strains might lead to deeper mental processes, depression or even suicide. Suicide is the second cause of death, among age group of 15-29, according to the WHO.
That is why, this strategic alliance (formed by Petrklíč Help, CWP and Permacultura Cantabria) decided to address this topic in the project “Protecting Youth’s Mental Health”, and contribute reducing this problem.
The project seeks, to gather tools for the identification of youth mental health issues, considering socio-economic and cultural factors; and on the other hand, it seeks their prevention, by learning how to design spaces and activities based on 8 main pillars, that are considered as favourable for a healthy mental health and relationships.
These pillars create a series of healthy habits that help prevent emotional issues, being topics of youth interest:
-Emotional Care and Management.
-Prevention of Addictions.
-Active participation in EU and social activities.
-Healthy Sports and Cooperation
– Traditional culture (Traditional dances as cultural heritage).
-Adultism (from youth to adulthood).
-Create spaces for knowledge exchange and good practices that add solutions to the problem of youth depression. Thus, the project has planned 2 participatory visits to Petrklíč Help (Czech Republic) and CWP (UK), to know the situation of the problem in each country, and their best practices to tackle it. Associated organizations will collaborate in these visits.
-Provide youth workers and participants with tools for creating healthy and collaborative spaces. That is why, an 8-day course in Spain will be carried out and led by Permacultura Cantabria, to merge the tools to identify and prevent youth depression. With this, youth workers and young leaders will be better trained.
-Promote the dissemination of the project and its results in order to broaden its impact. An exhaustive dissemination strategy was planned and divided into several phases (before, during and after the course) and tasks. Also, internal workshops will be replicated in each entity, to different relevant targets, expanding the project’s sustainability and impact. All participants for all the project’s activities are members of the involved entities (youth workers or youth leaders) that will meet the required criteria and will attend the activities. 2 youth workers will be the project and dissemination coordinators who will attend all the transnational activities including the transnational meetings (in Spain and Czech Republic). Four youth workers from each organisation will attend the 2 participatory visits (Czech Republic and UK) and the course in Spain, while 4 young leaders per entity will attend the course. Both youth workers and leaders will be in charge of the design and implementation of internal workshops, in each entity.
All of them will support the dissemination strategy and the correct development of the project and its activities, with their active participation.
During the project’s activities, the methodology will be flexible and participative, with practical and theoretical sessions. The project aims to develop a non-formal training methodology for youth workers or educators, so that they can replicate and adapt it to their groups, according to their circumstances, in their regions. This will make the results of this project sustainable over time and have a greater impact.
Youth workers will acquire tools to create healthy spaces, to prevent emotional risks or isolation; Recognise socio-economic and cultural factors; Contribute to the elimination of taboos to seek help; Improve their career prospects and linguistic skills, etc.
Young leaders will increase their awareness about depression and addictions, and have tools to support their peers or seek help. The project will help their passage to adult life, to better manage emotions, establish healthy relationships, increase self-esteem, intercultural dialogue, etc.
Involved organizations will become pioneers and references on the subject; will capacitate their staff; strengthen alliances and networks; have greater EU participation; design future related projects, etc.
Thanks to the dissemination, we will reach a wide multiplier audience, at all geographical levels.Thus, we expect the project results to help reducing depressive processes, discrimination and isolation, among youth.
The Results (R) of the project, according to each one of the proposed Specific Objectives (SO), are the following:
-Two participatory visits carried out, to promote the exchange of experiences and mutual enrichment.
-Part of the course, to exchange Permacultura Cantabria’s emotional management tools.
-A course for youth workers and young people, designed jointly, to learn how to develop collaborative and healthy spaces, using the 8 pillars that help to prevent depression, combined
with cultural and socio-economic tools to identify it.
-A dissemination campaign of the project and its results, carried out at local, regional, national and international levels.
-Internal workshops have been carried out, in each involved organization, to transfer the knowledge, best practices and tools acquired.
The project is planned to address a series of identified needs that are intended to be worked on, with the aim of improving them and that will be, in the end, the results of the project.
These needs are detailed in the Annex “Project Details”.
We will now summarize the results expected and indicate where the improvements will be made:
-They will know the origins of depression, its manifestations, as well as risk and prevention factors.
-They will be aware of the benefits of searching for professional support.
-They will improve their abilities to create collaborative and healthy spaces, based on the 8 pillars.
-They will improve their work and attention to young people at risk of exclusion.
-They will improve their skills in promoting interculturality, as well as their knowledge of the possibilities offered by the Erasmus+ programme, being able to promote the international participation of young people.
-They will have more skills on team management and promoting leadership among young people.
-They will be able to improve their English (or Spanish, in the case of British participants).
-They will be able to identify depression in young people.
For Petrklíč Help, this is a great opportunity to be able to deepen in methodologies related to the prevention of youth depression. Although this is a recurrent phenomenon in the youth work environment, the truth is that, until now, we have not developed nor established a systematized work methodology to deal with the problem.
In this sense, this project brings us closer to relevant strategies and tools of emotional management, to work and attend to groups of young people in danger of exclusion or depression.
Also, this project gives us the opportunity to continue deepening in tools to promote healthy lifestyles and relationships among young people, one of our great pillars of work.
CWP hopes to deepen in the phenomenon of youth depression, its origins and characteristics. The training on emotional health, inclusion and youth depression, for its youth workers, will allow them to acquire tools for their work with young people at risk of exclusion (especially the NEETs, migrants, LGTBIQ+ groups or unemployed).
They are particularly interested in improving their knowledge about emotional management tools, in particular, and in learning how to design nature-based inclusive activities.
Finally, CWP will benefit from knowing a structured and practical working methodology, to work on the emotional and psychological difficulties of young people.
Permacultura Cantabria will continue to study the subject in depth, getting to know other realities and how other organisations face this problem, which will allow it to improve its approaches and training, in matters of emotional management. At the same time, they will be able to weave strategic alliances.
Thanks to the exchange with Petrklíč Help, Permacultura Cantabria hopes to be able to go deeper into the causes of youth depression, as well as into the strategies for working with young people with problems of social integration. They will also be able to learn about the benefits of activities in contact with nature and the promotion of healthy lifestyles, in relation to depression, and the specific socio-economic particularities of the general panorama, in the Czech Republic.
In particular, thanks to the exchange with CWP, they will learn about the importance of the community approach and the role of volunteers. They will also be able to understand the particularities of the phenomenon in groups with specific disadvantages, such as the LGTBIQ+ or migrants and the characteristics of youth depression, in the British cultural context.
The Participant Selection Plan was proposed by Petrklíč Help and agreed upon, by all partners.
The selection includes the distinction of several groups (groups 2, 3 and 4) and consists of the following tasks:
1. Preparation of the call.
To prepare the call, we will maintain a fluid communication through Skype. The selection criteria was already agreed:
-Youth workers over 18 years old.
-Young people: 18 to 30 years old.
-Ability to understand and communicate in English.
-Availability to travel.
-Need and interest in acquiring knowledge for the creation of healthy and collaborative spaces, to prevent youth depression.
-Need and interest in expanding the activities of the participating organizations.
-Interest and commitment to carry out internal workshops, transfer the knowledge acquired and develop future projects with the partner organisations.
-Interest in participating and developing initiatives within the Erasmus+ programme.
-Interest and commitment to young people and their wellbeing.
-To have a positive role within the organisation and among young people.
-Willingness to collaborate in the dissemination campaign.
-Friendly people, motivated to have an exchange experience abroad and to meet people with other views and cultures, and to establish good relationships.
-To be willing to collaborate, actively, with their interventions and participation, in the activities of the project.
We will evaluate positively and give preference to those people from disadvantaged social groups, especially those facing the obstacles described in the following question. More than half of the selected participants will face unfavourable situations.
We will also pay special attention to gender balance, selecting a similar number of men and women participants.
We will ensure that all participants have an active participation and that all voices and ideas are heard.
2. Dissemination of the call for participants.
Each organization will disseminate the call for participants, among its staff and the youth communities with which it interacts, through its websites, social networks, etc.
3. Assistance to candidates, during the call.
The Project Coordinator of each organization will provide all the necessary assistance, to the candidates, to answer any additional question related to the project and to the application.
4. Selection of participants.
This task is divided into 2 filters. The organisations will, firstly, check the documentation of all the participants and separate the ones who fully comply with the documentation needed.
Then, this first group of candidates will be analysed and evaluated, individually, according to the selection criteria and profiles needed, in order to select the final participants.
We will consider selecting different types of profiles, as we know that a diverse group with different cultures, genders and perspectives leads to critical thinking and promotes non-discrimination, among the team.
In addition, we will facilitate the access and participation of people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
5. Reporting of results.
The Project coordinator of each entity will notify the results to all the candidates who applied to participate in the project, even if they were not selected. An appeal period of 15 days will be opened.
Participants are divided into 4 groups:
-Group 1: Formed by 1 project coordinator and 1 dissemination coordinator, from each organization. Their profiles are detailed in the description section of each organization (6 participants).
-Group 2: Formed by 4 youth workers from each organisation (12 participants).
-Group 3: Formed by 4 young people or future leaders, from each organisation (12 participants).
-Group 4: Formed by young people and youth workers, to whom the participants of the course will transmit the knowledge and tools acquired, during the internal workshops.