Promotion of Youth Mental Health through Awareness, Prevention & Resilience Building
Duration: 01-11-2021- 01-05-2024
Project Number: 2021-1-BG01-KA220-YOU-000028603
The recent COVID-19 crisis, increased the numbers, with over a half of YP across the globe showing signs of depression and anxiety (Youth & Covid-19 survey in 112 countries). Fear, worry and stress are emotions that YP are likely have felt in the recent 2 years, undoubtedly affecting their mental health. Furthermore, based on the survey, many YP have seen their futures impacted by the pandemic, as many national economies were collapsed. This led to constant fear and worry about their future career prospects which could have long-term, negative results if not addressed. However, the mental health crisis on YP has been building for a long time before the pandemic. A study of WHO, revealed a decline in YP’s mental well-being from 2014 -2018. It is estimated that 4% of 15-24 years old, recognize that they might suffer from chronic depression, while 14% of the European youth between 18-24 feel anxiety. Importantly, half of all MHP in adulthood turn out during or before adolescence period (WHO Europe). Indeed, the transition to adulthood even though it is an interesting period of our life, is also critical and transformative time since it is full of challenges, which can trigger of anxiety and worries. In addition, while YP are experiencing MHP in a higher level than other age groups, they are often reluctant into seeking professional help either because they may not recognise what is happening, or they feel ashamed. It is estimated that only 10–15% of YP with mental health problems receive help from existing mental health services (WHO 2005). While organizations are developing programmes for promoting YP’s mental health, these programmes tend to be deficit-oriented, emphasizing on YP’s problems, leading them to focus on what is wrong rather than what is right. From a professional’s view, this can increase stigmatization and reduce YP’s motivation to take care of their selves. Therefore, youth programmes should focus on helping YP to concentrate on how they can solve their problems and what they can do in order to prevent from having any. Moreover, although it’s evident that well informed YW on the mental health can deliver distinctive outcomes for YP, many YW find it difficult to open discussions with YP on mental health issues, maybe because they do not have the skills/knowledge to initiate these kind of conversations. If YW can encourage YP to talk about their emotions, they can reduce the existing social stigma around mental health which makes it harder for them to recover. Based on the above, and the fact that the Mental Wellbeing and end stigmatisation of MHP, for achieving social inclusion of all YP, is one of the most important priorities of the EU YOUTH STRATEGY, the project aims to promote positive mental health in YP by improving their knowledge around mental health and equipping them with skills to take care and maintain their mental wellbeing.