OECD (2021) reports that mental health of young people has been significantly impacted by the Covid‐19 crisis. In most countries, mental health issues among this age group have doubled or more – young people were 30% to 80% more likely to report symptoms of depression or anxiety than adults. Young people feel an overwhelming sense of isolation due to limited social interactions in a time where socializing is especially vital for their normal development. Even with the partial re- opening of the economy, prevalence of symptoms of anxiety and depression in the youth population remains higher than pre‐crisis levels. The worsening of mental health can also be attributed to disruptions to access to mental health services. Available evidence points to an alarming surge in mental health issues, calling for additional mental health support in these uncertain post-Covid and war times at the Eastern EU border, which are causing additional stress and fear to global society. Since mental illness is particularly difficult to assess in young people, who tend to internalise their feelings, it can be easily overlooked (Heinrichs, 2022). This means the reported rates of mental health problems among European young people are probably an underestimate. This can cause problems down the line, since “feeling blue” can sometimes develop into full-blown disorders. According to research, optimistic thinking, ability to trust family and friends, and daily physical activity are all protective factors of mental well-being. We can do a lot for our mental health ourselves by using simple strategies to manage our stress levels on a daily basis. In stressful situations, it is good to pay attention to them and express them without hesitation, since suppression of emotions only deepens mental distress. Because we as humans are social beings, it is also essential to stay positively connected with the society, which is especially true for young people, who are most affected by isolation and lack of social contacts. With adequate support and timely intervention, young people experiencing mental distress may be able to bounce back as we recover from Covid. This will, however, require a scaling up of existing mental health support, also including the use of digital tools and outdoor activities, since indoor socializing might still be limited. YOUHEAL represents a key long-term investment in human capital and capacities in many coming years and answers current societal needs by supporting the psychological resilience of young people, even in uncertain times. We will achieve the set project goals by providing easy access and open source learning content for self-care, based on flexible learning approaches as well as developing a local learning environment and empowering young individuals and society for positive changes.
The project has big potential for wider impact on several levels: EU: achieved via partner networks and ongoing projects in which partners are already involved. All partners have a wide network of organizations in their own countries. Publishing an article in a journal related to project areas will expand dissemination beyond EU borders. Focus will be given on personal growth training organizations (non-formal, informal training organizations, youth trainings, etc.). NATIONAL: actively disseminating and presenting YOUHEAL at national conferences, workshops dealing with the similar topics. Partners will attend at least one such event and present YOUHEAL, thus expanding project audience. Contribution at national level will be provided via national workshops. LOCAL: partner organizations will actively integrate project results into organizational structures and existing training programs. Project learning activities and events will be available to external stakeholders and allow their involvement, resulting in more effective dissemination. This will have further effects as target groups will internalize results, recognize them as their own and integrate them into their activities. At events, we expect participants from local, regional, national, EU and non-EU environments. Impact will be equally spread in participating organizations and will include the following:
• increased interest of participants in personal growth and education, digitalisation, etc.
• new knowledge of social issues, personal growth, social inclusiveness
• new competencies of all staff involved with the project
• increased recognition of the importance of improving organizations’ capacities
• increased acceptance of common European values, multiculturalism
• enhanced international cooperation of organizations and individuals
• contribution to the empowerment of participants Benefits for groups and organisations outside the partner consortium:
• learning materials (app, e-course, e-textbook) to be widely recognized as a subject of effective training and incorporated into non-formal education of other organizations • outputs recognized as high quality teaching, educational and didactic material that can be used for independent learning, summer schools, learning in groups, etc.
• app, platform and e-course recognized as innovative, interactive, user-friendly and well attended
• other stakeholders outside consortium use our project results and modify (e.g. translate into their national languages, add teaching methods or content) and train learners according to our outputs
• app with micro-trainings, storytelling will be widely used by staff in various organizations and youths across EU
P4 • lead WP4: architecture of digital app • participation in WP1-3, WP5-6 (cooperation with coordinator, national SotA report, testing, improvements of app, preparation of micro trainings, integration of storytelling, contribution to e-textbook, adaptation to GR, engaging target groups, organizing national event, organizing international staff training, contributing to dissemination)
FUNDATIA JUDETEANA PENTRU TINERET TIMIS
Mednarodni institut za implementacijo trajnostnega razvoja
POKRET GORANA VOJVODINE
Zavod Moc za spremembo