project details

Project topic:   Self-empowerment, mental health
Project programme: Erasmus+
Project sector: Youth education 
Project ID: KA220-YOU-0D66FCF7
Project start: 01/09/2022
Project finish: 29/02/2024

Project Consortium

Mednarodni institut za implementacijo trajnostnega razvoja - Slovenia
Zavod Moc za spremembo - Slovenia

Project Description

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.

Project Impact

The results and objectives of YOUHEAL project directly addresses priority topics of digital transformation and young people’s sense of initiative by strenghtening their digital and soft skills through interesting, innovative, easy access and open source learning content which enables them to build psychological resilience and practice self-care.

Project Outputs

• 5 focus groups on existing needs, challenges, opportunities and competences needed to overcome challenges in the post- Covid era, which will be used as a knowledge base for the development of innovative approaches, content and training • development of 1 e-course covering knowledge, skills and competences in the field of personal growth, self-confidence, personal goals development, less stressful and more fulfilling life • development of an interactive learning possibility (preferably 1 web application) that includes attractive and innovative training materials • create training material, develop 1 e-course and verify the outputs • development of 1 e-guidance or e-textbook for self-learning • >10 qualified staff members at the staff training and >30 learners at youth trainings, where participants will explore digital possibilities of online trainings and improve their knowledge and competencies on coaching and personal development; this will also serve as an opportunity for individuals to interact, discuss, share experiences with peers from different cultures and/or social backgrounds • >100 participants in project events • creating and disseminating learning activities (YouTube, social media, OER) to support the learning of trainers, professionals, NGOs, self-development organizations, etc. • innovative and flexible training using micro-trainings, storytelling, cooperative education, meta cognition, etc. • >40 certificates for recognition of competencies

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