The project „Working on mental health – Inside out“was started by the Croatian Medical Students’ International Committee CroMSIC We have been conducting the project successfully since 2015. in cooperation with City Office for Health City of Zagreb and Health Center Zagreb West.
The objective of this project that represents action in field of public health and education is raising awareness of importance that mental health hold in the lives of young adults. Dealing with mental health among youth has been detected by World Health Organization as an important issue that we need to deal with. What we wanted to do was not just to speak about it, but also to act on it. We also think that our experience as young adults, our effort and enthusiasm can significantly help in raising awareness and combating the stigma related to mental health as well as it can improve the youth’s mental health and have a positive impact on their personal growth and development.
Here is the list of all the activities we are conducting:
We educate students to become peer educators.
Students are included in two days education in which they obtain knowledge and skills that they need in order to be able to conduct the workshops in schools. Education includes theoretical knowledge as well as some practical skills regarding peer education, learning about and improving presentation skills. Education also highlights the main concepts of mental health of youth as well as theoretical knowledge regarding the psychological and developmental stages and characteristics of adolescents.
Education for high school students.
Students that attend the two day education – peer educators then conduct eight separated workshops for high school juniors. High school students are being introduced with basic concepts of mental health that they benefit from in many ways. Firstly, they are improving their own mental health and their mental hygiene. Workshops in every class are always conducted by the same pair of peer educators in order to make a better connection with students as well as to earn their trust.
The main objectives of the workshops:
- Raising awareness among high student population regarding mental health
- To educate high school students so they would be able to recognize problems related to mental health that they or their friends might be experiencing and also that they are empowered to seek help if they feel like they need it
- To educate high school students so they could analyze their own emotions, needs, habits and relationships as well as to present them effective mechanisms for coping with stress and all adversities they might encounter in an adolescent age. This project also aims to help students with decision making related to healthier lifestyle and self-acceptance. It also aims to help in development of healthier and longer lasting relationships as well as introducing them to self-care and self-love concepts. All of the above should contribute to the prevention of mental health related disorders.
- To make students more sensible about the vicious circle of labeling others and themselves, the pain that comes with stigmatizing and violent behaviour so that they would be able to recognize and react to behaviours like that in order to stop and prevent them from happening.
- To make students aware of how it is really important for them to work on getting to know themselves better in order for them to make the right decisions in many areas of their life including their future job and career options after they finish high school
Symposium „Mental health and youth: I am listening“.
Every year we organize symposium „Mental health and youth: I am listening“. The name of the symposium reflects our main mission and idea that we want everyone to hear – we are listening. We truly listen to the needs of young people, but also we listen to the experts in the field of psychology, medicine and school system that help us. We pick and then present series of lectures and workshops regarding the different topic every year. By doing that we are trying to answer some of the burning questions and problems we are dealing with. We firstly presented the topic of suicide, then love and relationships and the latest, this year’s topic was perfectionism.
Mental Health Awareness Week.
We are also joining the Mental Health Awareness Week by conducting various activities that we use to promote a different mental health related theme every year. By doing this, we are trying to educate and encourage the wider public to be proactive and to take more care about their own mental health.
Raising awareness about mental health disorders among youth in general public.
We try to be active on all of our social media platforms as well as to launch our campaign via media services to be more visible and to promote mental health and to combat with stigma of mental disorders. We try to stir up conversation among youth about mental health. Also, during the year we organize lectures and workshops for everyone interested in mental health but we aim at the younger population.
Every part of the project is being evaluated constantly in order for us to get feedback on what and how to improve. By doing this, we are growing more and more every year and we are taking this project to the next level. Project has been verified by the Education and Teacher Training Agency as well as Ministry of Science and Education. Also, the project was recognized by the University where it got Rector’s Award for community service work in the academic and wider community. The project was presented at IFMSA General Assembly in the August of 2016. where it won the 2nd place in the top ten projects worldwide. Since the project started the need for multidisciplinary approach has been recognized and acted on – this year especially where together with the students of the Medical School of University of Zagreb following students were included: psychology students, students of Faculty of Educational and Rehabilitation Sciences (social pedagogy, educational rehabilitation, speech and language pathology) and Social work students. We included supervisions for our peer educators that are provided by the Mental Health Center Zagreb West. This way, by including future experts from different fields we insure the best approach to mental health as we aim to improve multidisciplinary cooperation. Also, we are especially proud that from this year we are expanding „Inside Out“ to the other CroMSIC’s stations in Osijek, Rijeka and Split which is making this project reach national level.
You are not alone.
I am here.
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