Τraining course on the Mental Health of the Youth in the Social Media Εra.
Programme: Erasmus+ Key Action 1: Mobility of Youth Workers. Training Course.
Project identification/ contract number: 2016-3-CY02-KA105-000871
Project duration: 01/02/2017- 01/09/2017
Dates of the training course: 18/03/2017- 26/03/2017
Number of participants: 23
SEAL CYPRUS, Cyprus (Coordinator)
EVROPSKE CENTRUM MLADEZE BRECLAV/EUROPEAN YOUTH CENTRE BRECLAV Z.S., Czech Republic, www.eycb.eu
ENNEA cultura territorio società, Italy, https://www.facebook.com/associazioneennea/
ASOCIACIJA APKABINK EUROPA, Lithuania, https://www.facebook.com/EUROHUGS
ADEL Slovakia, Slovakia, www.adelslovakia.org
YOUTH MOBILITY CENTER, Greece , www.YMCgreece.com
LUUPUSE SELTS, Estonia, https://www.facebook.com/luupuseselts
ASOCIACIÓN DIAGONAL ESPAÑA, Spain, http://diagonalesp.org/
ASSOCIACAO JUVENIL DA ILHA TERCEIRA- AJITER, Portugal, www.ajiter.pt
FUNDACJA ”RA I DO” MIĘDZYNARODOWE CENTRUM WSPARCIA MŁODZIEŻY I DOROSŁYCH, Poland, www.raido.mispomocnik.pl
MAIN THEME OF THE PROJECT
(Social) Media & the Mental Health of the Youth
CONTEXT & BACKGROUND
The idea for the project “Youth Minded” was developed after a focus group on “Mental Health for the Youth” that our organisation hosted in November 2015. The theme of the project reflects topics of current European interests as it focuses on mental health, a concern shared by most European countries. Mental health and welfare of children and young people and the way in which we support them through adolescence into adulthood will affect the prosperity as well as the social and economic stability of European countries in the coming decades. Investing in the promotion of young people’s mental health is an investment in the present and the future. The European Youth Strategy aims to support the health and well-being of young people with a focus on different issues one of which is the promotion of mental health. Advocating the health and well-being of young people, including mental health, is one of the six priorities of the EU Work Plan for Youth (2016-2018) adopted by the Council of the Ministers of Youth and Education for the EU Member States in November 2015.
The overall aim was to promote the mental health of the young people by equipping the participants with improved competences linked to their professional (youth training/youth work) and volunteering profile to:
– Support the development of healthy youth identity through youth work, youth training and volunteering
– Prevent potential mental health issues among their target group and to ask for support from other specialists
- To learn more about young people’s identity building
- To learn about the benefits of (social) media on adolescent development and how to use them when designing youth projects
- To explore the challenges that the traditional media and the social media represent for the mental health of the young people
- To develop the quality of youth work, youth training and volunteering in favour of the young people
- To support the youth workers and their organisations to improve youth work methods and practices to involve young people and to approach disadvantaged groups, such as people with mental health issues
- To increase mental health awareness within the community
- To promote Erasmus+ and the Youthpass certificate
- To increase the capacity of the partners to operate at international level
TOPICS OF INTEREST
There have been significant links between the media and mental health, in research studies around the world. More specifically:
Identity Development: Media messages often contain simplistic stereotypical portrayals of socio-demographic factors such as sex, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, and occupation. Because adolescence is an important time of self-definition, exposure to such simplistic portrayals can interfere with normal identity development. Special attention was given to the representation of refugees and asylum seekers in the media and its impact on the identity development of young refugees and asylum seekers.
Self-esteem: Through Facebook posts, tweets, and Instagram photos, sometimes we find ourselves judging our own lives with these updates, tweets, and photos. The comparisons can cause feelings of inferiority that may lead to low self-esteem.
Depression: Many researchers support a correlation between social media use and depression.
Body Image: Increased exposure to the media may lead to body image insecurity.
Eating Disorders: Increased exposure to the Media has been associated with higher rates of disordered eating.
Risky Behavior: Media commonly used by adolescents contain multiple references to risky behaviour including substance use or abuse, violence, and unsafe sex.
Sexualisation of Girls: A report of the American Psychological Association (APA) released in 2007, found evidence that the proliferation of sexualised images of girls and young women in advertising, merchandising, and media is harmful to girls’ self-image and healthy development.
RESULTS AND IMPACT
The project created high-quality learning outcomes. The participants in the training course improved their skills and competences which were certified with the Youthpass. They were enabled to support their organisations, to multiply the impact of youth work and to raise the visibility of their work. During the project, a publication was created summarising the activities and the results.
Also, the participants created the campaign #realpeople. The people in the 20 portraits presented who they really are behind their online profiles. Their message is simple: “Rather than focusing on creating an ideal online identity, we should better use our time and energy to achieve the goals that will align our real self with our ideal self”. The portraits were posted during April 2017 on our Facebook Page. Apart from the benefits for individuals, good mental health is increasingly important for economic growth and social development in Europe. Mental health and well-being of the youth will affect the prosperity as well as the social and economic stability of European countries over the coming decades. Investing in the mental health promotion of young people is an investment in the present and the future. Partner organisations are expected to extend the international dimension of their work, to learn about non-formal methods of entrepreneurial education, to strengthen their relationships with their stakeholders. The training provided an opportunity to establish sustainable partnerships for further cooperation and projects.
On the long run the project will bring benefits to communities, which participants are coming from, as well as an international community since after the training, the participants are going to implement transnational initiatives based on the network of the partner organisations.
Join the discussion on Twitter. The hashtag for the project is #YouthMindedEU
See the campaign #realpeople which was designed for the project (Facebook & Twitter)
Read the interviews of the participants in the Project Summary
The project was financed with the support of the European Commission. The content of this publication is the sole responsibility of the publisher and the European Commission is not liable for any use that may be made of the information.